If it’s not Sustainable, its condition is Terminal.

September 1, 2014

¶   The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on August 30. Latest information is that out of 100 US reactors, 7 were at reduced output and 2 were not operating.

¶   By NRC reckoning, Vermont Yankee (VY) is running at 100% of capacity. When the NRC rates output at 100%, it means it is 124% of specification. The plant is at 106% of its intended lifespan and the spent fuel pool has 500% of its intended load.

¶   Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell with guests Steve Reucroft and Alex Fay, August 28 (Video)

¶   Energy Week Extra on dealing with nuclear waste, with guests Steve Reucroft and Alex Fay, August 28 (Video)

geoharvey is one of George Harvey’s Blogs.


September 1 Energy News

September 1, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Fossil fuels win battle, but will they win the war?” In Australia, the fossil fuel industry appears to hold absolute power and is able to bring the Renewable Energy Target to a halt. But while they have won a key battle,  it is by no means certain that they will win the war. [Echonetdaily]

Science and Technology:

¶   According to a team of scientists at Stanford University. The researchers have developed a low-cost, emission-free mechanism that uses a 1.5-volt battery to split water into its constituent elements of oxygen and hydrogen. This could be the basis for inexpensive hydrogen. [Motley Fool]

World:

¶   The Indian government plans to take advantage of clauses in the WTO agreements to subsidise solar power projects by the army, railways, and public sector enterprises. Under the plan, the Indian army and public sector companies will set up 1,000-MW solar PV projects each. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Neyveli Lignite Corporation, an Indian government-owned lignite mining and power generating company, is planning to invest over Rs 500 crore ($82.7 million) in renewable energy projects. The company plans to set up over 80 MW of wind and solar energy projects. [Business Standard]

¶   In the UK, the Liberal Democrats have plans for five new laws to protect the environment. They plan legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector. [Liberal Democrats]

¶   The Japanese government may be considering a significant increase in its renewable energy targets. According to the Kyodo news agency, the Environment Minister said the country should aim to source 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. [Business Green]

¶   South Australia’s Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter has condemned the recently released Renewable Energy Target Review report, referring to the move by the Abbott Government to scale back the RET as “anti-science.” [Energy Matters]

¶   UK anti-nuclear campaigners have called on EDF Energy to give up its nuclear ambitions for Somerset and elsewhere following a report from UBS, a multinational investment bank, which says it is time to: “join the solar revolution”. [South West Business]

¶   Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is vulnerable to ‘direct bombardment’ in Ukraine if caught in the conflict, a Greenpeace nuclear energy expert told a German newspaper, claiming that its nuclear reactors are not protected from armor-piercing weapons. [RT]

¶   In China, a State Council meeting Wednesday determined the government’s focus on several major projects, including beefing up development of renewable energy, and starting construction of wind power, hydro power, solar power and coastal nuclear plants. [WantChinaTimes]

US:

¶   Just days after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection disclosed 243 cases of contamination from oil and gas drilling operations, a major drilling company has voluntarily dropped an attempt to force its operations upon unwilling property owners. [CleanTechnica]

¶   New Mexico’s largest electric utility is underestimating the costs that will be passed on to customers under a proposal to shut down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico, according to a regulatory filing made by advocates of renewable energy. [Peninsula On-line]

¶   The Austin City Council approved a resolution that brings solar to the foreground in Texas. And, perhaps most interestingly, they did so because it made business – and not just environmental – sense in current energy markets. [Scientific American]

¶   The US government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. The latest government plans call for having an interim test storage site in 2021 and a long-term geologic depository in 2048. [TheDay.com]

¶   With the Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly trying to recruit terror operatives just across our southern border, one terrorism expert — an ex-CIA officer — is warning of an “imminent threat” to the US electric grid. [Western Journalism]


August 31 Energy News

August 31, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report” We can still stop the worst — with virtually no impact on growth — but future generations will not be able reverse whatever we are too greedy and shortsighted to prevent. [Energy Collective]

¶   “Reasons for optimism as the US readies for Paris climate negotiations” The project manager for the Powering Forward Plan being produced by the Center for the New Energy Economy of the Colorado State University shares his reasons for being optimistic about climate change. [Mountain Town News]

¶   “Australia sleepwalks toward a dangerous nuclear future” An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion, says Dr Helen Caldicott, however as we sleepwalk towards embracing nuclear energy, most Australians are not aware of the dangers and have forgotten the history. [Independent Australia]

World:

¶   One of the most important pieces of news of the summer made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the US Energy Information Administration. It is that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. [Resilience]

¶   According to Volvo, compared against a conventional diesel bus, the plug-in 7900 Electric Hybrid bus uses up to 75% less fuel, dropping CO2 emissions. Overall energy consumption is reduced by somewhere around 60%. The 7900 Electric Hybrid is about to be released. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Indian State of Piyush Goyal will launch three efficiency initiatives developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency. They include design guidelines for energy-efficient multi-story residential buildings and star ratings for hospital buildings and diesel generators. [indiablooms]

¶   The Indian textile industry, in collaboration with German International Cooperation, has achieved its target of saving over 10 MW of electricity through implementation of Energy Management Systems in several mills. [The Nation]

¶   When the Seychellois head of state visited the University of Auckland, discussions with the Dean of the Faculty and other faculty staff centred on the university’s research into renewable energy such solar energy, geothermal energy, wind power, and bio-fuel. [Seychelles News Agency]

¶   Nicaragua’s latest revolution is a switch to green energy. The country is drawing a parade of distinguished admirers coming to examine how the nation is radically changing its energy footprint with an aggressive goal of becoming a green-energy powerhouse. [The Seattle Times]

US:

¶   Electric operators in New England have been both generating more electricity from natural gas and importing more hydroelectric generation from Quebec over the past decade. These two sources of electricity are displacing the use of coal and oil as generation fuels in the region. [Energy Collective]

¶   Kit Carson Electric buys its electricity from Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Under a contract that does not expire until 2040, Kit Carson is only allowed to generate 5% of its total energy use through renewable sources, but it may get the chance to renegotiate the contract. [taosnews]

¶   The City of Anaheim, California announced the completion of a 2.4-MW solar panel system on the Anaheim Convention Center. The $5.7 million project has 7,908 installed solar panels, making it the largest city-owned, convention center, roof-mounted system in North America. [Orange County Breeze]

¶   Georgia Power said its $6.7 billion budget to build a new nuclear plant at Plant Vogtle is holding steady, but it reported that builders face “challenges” sticking to the construction schedule and costs could change in the future. There may be further construction delays. [Valdosta Daily Times]


August 30 Energy News

August 30, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Water is an ancient power source, one usually exploited by harnessing its flow. For decades, though, scientists have been working on another kind of water power — one relying on salt. This technique exploits the natural process of osmosis. [Wall Street Journal]

World:

¶   Solar panel canopies are to be placed above leisure center parking lots in the UK city of Nottingham. In all, the canopies will cost the council £2 million. They should generate £200,000 worth of energy a year, so in ten years they will be generating that free as income. [Nottingham Post]

¶   The Samoa government has officially opened the country’s first wind energy project at Vailoa Aleipata on the southern coast of Upolu island. The Aleipata wind farm includes two 55 meter high wind turbines, each with a capacity of 275 kW. [Radio New Zealand]

¶   The Russian government has accepted the Energy Ministry’s proposal for Russia to join the International Renewable Energy Agency. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a corresponding document, the cabinet website said on Friday. [ITAR-TASS]

¶   Greenpeace volunteers have launched a “peaceful campaign” in front of a solar station in south Amman, Jordan, demanding that the government switch its energy plans from nuclear to renewable. [Bakken.com]

¶   Two innovative renewable energy projects are moving forward in Scotland: Britain’s first tidal power array, and the world’s first deployment of two-bladed wind offshore turbines. The experimental technologies are hoped to achieve significant cost savings. [The Ecologist]

¶   Ecodrive and Wattstor teamed up with the University of Exeter to monitor and manage the monetary value of the most expensive element of an electric vehicle – its battery. The result could produce a change in the way EVs are marketed. [Western Morning News]

¶   A 400 kg (882 pound) machine part fell into a nuclear fuel pool at Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant Friday, the operator said. TEPCO said it had not detected any significant changes in radiation readings or in the level of pool water at the No. 3 reactor. [The Straits Times]

US:

¶   SolarCity plans a 1 GW integrated PV manufacturing plant to use technology developed by recently acquired Silevo. According to recent reports, the plant is expected to cost somewhere between $400–$450 million. [CleanTechnica]

¶   After more than a year of study, United Water has decided to develop a small hydroelectric power plant at the Dundee Dam to produce enough power to supply 1,000 homes. The dam is on New Jersey’s Passaic River, where it runs between Garfield and Clifton. [NorthJersey.com]

¶   Utah solar advocates and customers are hailing a decision Friday by the Utah Public Service Commission to reject Rocky Mountain Power’s request of a monthly fee for rooftop solar homes. The commission, in its order, said it could not rule that the fee was justified. [Deseret News]

¶   Austin Energy could be a greenhouse-gas-free utility eventually, as the Austin City Council passed a measure requiring the utility to make larger investments in renewable energy. The goal is for the utility to be completely green by 2030. [Austin Business Journal]

¶   As utilities across the US grapple with stagnant electricity sales, many see opportunity in the fledgling need for electric-car charging stations. But some companies’ tactics are spurring complaints from consumer advocates. [Wall Street Journal]


August 29 Energy News

August 29, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Fossil fuels win battle over RET, but will they win the war?” Time is not on the side of the Australian power generators. UBS has warned that mass grid defections could happen as early as 2018, and that centralized generation could be largely extinct in a decade. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶   The tar sands industry’s tailings problem is a growing liability and it is getting worse. For every barrel of tar sands bitumen produced (the semi-solid substance from which oil is eventually refined), 1.5 barrels of toxic liquid waste is added to the tailings ponds. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   The expansion of renewable energy will slow over the next five years unless policy uncertainty is diminished, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today in its third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. [Eurasia Review]

¶   Japan’s Ministry of Environment has earmarked ¥300 million ($2.89 million) in its budget request for fiscal 2015 from April for a nationwide survey into the viability of the small hydropower generators, which can be installed at relatively a small cost and take up little space. [GlobalPost]

¶   The world’s largest working advanced digestion plant opened in Manchester, UK. It handles the sewage of 1.2 million people, putting enough surplus power to the UK grid to power 25,000 homes. It uses waste formerly dumped in the Irish Sea. [Energy Voice]

¶   The Scottish Government has granted a windfarm planned for Aberdeen Bay its final planning consent. The development remains tied up in court battles with US tycoon Donald Trump, who has led a bitter public campaign against the project. [Aberdeen Press and Journal]

¶   Europe has released it non-binding target for renewable energy at 27% by 2030. In response the IEA has raised the alarm and is asking for a clear and stable framework in a report that raises questions about how effective the overall non-binding target can be. [Domestic Fuel]

¶   A carbon tax is set to go before Chile’s House of Representatives next week, as part of a larger tax reform package that includes measures intended to fight air pollution and climate change. Chile would become the second country in Latin America to have a carbon tax, after Mexico. [ThinkProgress]

US:

¶   A new study, published online in the journal Nature Climate Change, has found that savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. It says the health savings outweigh cap-and-trade pollution abatement costs more than 10 times over. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Fluor Corporation has completed the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning for both phases of LS Power’s 170 MW Centinela solar energy facility near El Centro, California. The project has more than 875,000 solar PV panels on its 1,600-acre site. [reNews]

¶   Maine regulators have given preliminary approval to US developer First Wind’s up to 206 MW Bingham wind project. Subsidiary Blue Sky West proposes to use 3 MW or 3.3 MW machines, either the Vestas V112 or Siemens SWT 113. [reNews]

¶   More and more utilities say they buy wind energy to save their customers money. In some places, wind is now the cheapest way to add electrical generating capacity. It provides a great long-term hedge against rising prices for natural gas everywhere. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In three of the last ten months, renewable energy accounted for 100% of new US electricity capacity twice and 99.3% once. As wind power and solar power have gotten cheaper, they have become cost-competitive, even without considering the market price of fossil fuel externalities. [Treehugger]


August 28 Energy News

August 28, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶    GE’s Energy Consulting business has presented an extensive study that modeled the Eastern Interconnection in the US. It determined that when equipped with the appropriate modern plant controls, wind applications can substantially enhance grid resiliency. [EarthTechling]

¶   The two major forecasting agencies, Washington’s EIA and Paris’ IEA, are both more pessimistic about growth in shale oil production than is generally known for they both foresee US shale oil production leveling off as soon as 2016. [Resilience]

World:

¶   The Australian federal government has released its review of the Renewable Energy Target. It concludes the costs of the scheme “outweigh its benefits” and has recommended the scheme either be shelved or changed. [Business Insider Australia]

¶   Germany, which has come to rely heavily on wind and solar power in recent years, is launching more than 20 demonstration projects that involve storing energy by splitting water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. [MIT Technology Review]

¶   According to the EIA’s annual Medium-term Renewable Energy Market report, power generation from renewable sources including wind, solar and hydro reached almost 22% of global production. But they project that growth will slow after 2014. [Recharge]

¶   In 2013 world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3% to top 11700 MW across 24 countries. Though wind power has expanded 21% per year since 2008 and solar power has grown at a blistering 53% annual rate, this was geothermal’s best year in the time. [MENAFN.COM]

¶   A new poll in Brazil shows that an unexpected challenger in the 2014 presidential election would defeat the incumbent president in a hypothetical run-off. Marina Silva, an ardent environmentalist, has vaulted to the front of the pack. [OilPrice.com]

¶   GE announced today it has achieved a total installed capacity of 1 GW of wind energy in Brazil. During the first half of 2014, GE connected 381 wind turbines to the grid in Brazil, providing 600 MW of capacity to the country. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Belgian power prices are soaring on concern that two nuclear reactors will remain shut into next year, potentially threatening supplies to factories. The premium for Belgian wholesale costs for the fourth quarter over those in the Netherlands closed at a record Tuesday. [Chicago Tribune]

US:

¶   Renewable energy sources accounted for 14.3% of net US electrical generation in the first half of the year, according to a new report by the EIA. Last year, the EIA forecast that the US would reach the 14% renewable mark in 2040. [pv magazine]
… From June 2013 to June 2014, the US produced more than 12,000 GWh of solar power, compared to around 5,600 GWh from June 2012 to June 2013. This is an increase of over 210%, year-on-year. [Smithsonian]

¶   Hawaiian Electric Company released details of its plan for the state’s energy future. It calls for 65% of all electricity generated on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui County to come from renewables. However, environmental groups say the plan relies too heavily on natural gas. [KITV Honolulu]

¶   Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard are expected to sign a partnership today to build a $25 million solar farm that will supply Camp Ripley with much of its electrical needs. The 10 MW solar farm on 100 acres and will be the largest contiguous solar farm in Minnesota. [Brainerd Daily Dispatch]

¶   Michigan’s Thumb area is well known for the diversity of crop production, from carrots to strawberries to wheat, hay, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and some of the finest dairy herds in Michigan. Now, this rich agricultural area is producing a new “crop” of windpower. [Farmers Advance]


August 27 Energy News

August 27, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point” Here in the ides of August, 2014, there exists clear, overwhelmingly convincing evidence that we have passed the tipping point for change into the renewable energy era. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “Retail vs Wholesale Energy Pricing: 1 Reason It’s Easy For Rooftop Solar To Be Cost Effective” When residential folks put up solar PVs, we only have to beat the price on our energy bills, which is retail. That makes it easier for rooftop solar to beat utility price rates. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “Why wind wreckers are often left snatching at air” Each year, Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory put out a superb report documenting developments in the US wind power market. [Business Spectator]

World:

¶   Indian wind turbine manufacturers and project developers have been advised by the government to make efforts to increase annual capacity addition to five times its current level, a leading Indian newspaper has reported. That means 10,000 MW is to be added each year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Mayor of Warsaw has complained to the Polish government that 2030 clean energy goals which Poland believed too radical were in fact unambitious, undemocratically decided, and risk spiking EU decarbonisation moves, in a letter seen by EurActiv. [EurActiv]

¶   SunWize Technologies has announced completion of the installation of a 546 kW solar electric system for the Independent State of Samoa. The project with Samoa’s power utility, Electric Power Corporation, is the country’s largest, reducing Samoa’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. [Your Renewable News]

¶   Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33% in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Carbon Recycling International was founded in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The company is now recycling CO2 from flue gas into liquid transport fuel by reacting it with H2 at the first production plant using the process. [World Fishing]

¶   Provincial regulators have approved Suncor Energy’s 100-MW Cedar Point wind project near Lake Huron in south-western Ontario. The project will have 46 Siemens SWT 2.3-MW 113 turbines. [reNews]

¶   The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶   In its latest rate request to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, We Energies seeks to charge its customers more and also add new penalties to those who use renewable energy, making solar panels and other green systems less affordable for the average property owner. [Express Milwaukee]

¶   US News and World Report took it upon themselves to actually look at the numbers of birds killed each year by electricity sources in the United States. And while all numbers reported are going to be open to interpretation and discussion, the final figures look bad for coal. [RenewEconomy]

¶   A pending Austin City Council resolution may help create more solar energy supply for Austin Energy consumers, the city announced August 26. The resolution would create enough solar energy to power 100,000 homes. The proposal will be heard on August 28. [Community Impact Newspaper]

¶   US Nuclear Regulatory Commission members approved Tuesday a final rule on the continued storage of utility spent fuel and then lifted, when the new rule goes into effect, a suspension they imposed in 2012 on several categories of reactor licensing activities. [Platts]


August 26 Energy News

August 26, 2014

A Quote for the Day:

¶   “It’s time to join the revolution,” Swiss investment bank UBS is advising clients. The bank says the payback time for unsubsidised investment in electric vehicles plus rooftop solar plus battery storage will be as low as 6-8 years by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   A handful of US-based energy firms have met with the government of Cambodia over the past week to discuss plans for two large-scale energy projects worth a total of $900 million. One is a 200-MW solar plant. The other is an oil refinery. [The Phnom Penh Post]

¶   First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the 52.5 MW Shams Ma’an PV power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. [Semiconductor Today]

¶   According to NRDC-CEEW analysis, India’s solar and wind programs have catalysed rapid growth providing much-needed energy access, creating employment opportunities for India’s workforce. The analysis also stresses need for innovative financing solutions. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   Pattern Energy Group LP, the developer of Chile’s biggest wind farm, plans to proceed with a solar plant in the top copper-producing nation’s Atacama Desert. Chile’s government seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to supply cheaper power to the mining industry. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   A study of abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania finds that the hundreds of thousands of such wells may be leaking methane, suggesting that abandoned wells across the country could be a bigger source of climate changing greenhouse gases than previously thought. [Climate Central]

¶   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently reopened a year-old petition from anti-nuclear groups concerned about the financial ability of Entergy Corp. to safely operate its nuclear plants, including Vermont Yankee. [GazetteNET]

¶   Massachusetts has reached a milestone: The number of solar installations statewide has surpassed 15,000. The state now has 15,762 solar installations that produce 615 MW of electricity, enough to power about 94,000 homes. [Boston Globe]

¶   The municipal utility in Palo Alto, CA, set an ambitious target of 33% renewable energy by 2015 and to ultimately deliver a carbon neutral electricity supply. They will reach 48% renewable power in 2017 and met the carbon neutral goal starting last year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   US developer Innovative Solar Systems has obtained construction financing for just over 200 MW of approved and construction-ready solar farms in North Carolina, each of 20 MW or more. Construction will start almost immediately. [reNews]

¶   Verizon is set to become the number one solar producer among U.S. communication companies. They have announced an investment of nearly $40 million to expand their onsite green energy program. [Domestic Fuel]

¶   A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California’s last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility’s twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults. [The Japan Times]


August 25 Energy News

August 25, 2014

A Quote for the Day:

¶   The commander of the US Defense Logistics Agency Energy dismisses the denialism rampant in American politics and society with: “Call it climate change, call it the big blue rabbit, I don’t give a hoot what you call it — the military has to respond to those kinds of things.” [Japan Focus]

Opinion:

¶   “As chair of Arctic Council, US could help the North replace costly, unhealthy diesel” Many Arctic villages diesel fuel in inefficient generators at costs approaching $10 per gallon. Some have been able to secure financing to construct wind projects and use micro grid technology. [Anchorage Daily News]

World:

¶   In Australia, the Clean Energy Council has launched a last-ditched media campaign to try to protect the 41,000 GWh renewable energy target, as the Abbott government prepares to deliver what will inevitably be a fatal blow to the industry. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Construction of a new hydro plant at the Old Lock on the River Trent, next to Holme Lock and the weir at Holme Pierrepont, is about to begin. It will provide 3000 MWh per year, enough for 700 average homes. Because it will be in an existing lock, it will be largely invisible. [Nottingham Post]

¶   In 2012-2013, the Australian Capital Territory government slashed green energy use from the mandatory 37.5% to just 5%. Last week, the ACT government shared in a report that green energy purchases will continue to be 5% of total power use through 2018 and 2019. [Business Review Australia]

US:

¶   Dropbox, which provides a free internet document sharing service, has a new San Francisco office. The office is to be powered by a solar PV energy system designed by UGE and is also LEED Platinum certified. [Triple Pundit]

¶   To help chill the 9.5 million cases of mass-market and craft beers that Great Bay Distributors delivers each year, the family-owned company is installing an array of 5,000 solar panels as part of the roof. It will become the largest private solar power system in Florida. [TBO.com]

¶   A proposal to build one of the world’s largest solar farms in a rural area south of Silicon Valley has cleared one of its final hurdles after five years of planning and environmental debate. The 247-MW facility still awaits a final environmental permit. [Contra Costa Times]

¶   Some farmers in the Susquehanna Valley are generating solar electricity while growing crops on the same farmland. They are making money by selling Solar Renewable Energy Credits or using the power produced to save on their own energy bills. [Sunbury Daily Item]

¶   The Palisades nuclear power plant is one of the oldest in the country and it is also one of the most “embrittled,” putting it at risk of cracking. However, company and government officials insist the 43-year-old plant on the shore of Lake Michigan remains safe to operate. [Mlive Kalamazoo]


August 24 Energy News

August 24, 2014

World:

¶   China’s natural gas demand has been growing as the government seeks to move away from coal in favor of cleaner fuels. According to EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2013 Reference case, demand will more than triple from 5.2 Tcf in 2012 to 17.5 Tcf by 2040. [Energy Collective]

¶   Soon after Navigant Research predicted investment in microgrids to reach $31 billion in the Asia Pacific region by 2023, it released another report investigating smart grid technologies, and predict that market spending will total $600 billion from 2014 through 2023. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Sri Lanka now has a diversified power generating capacity of 4,100 MW, up from 2,014 MW largely dependent on oil in 2005. Renewable energy is being added, including hydro and solar. Almost 100% of households in the country will enjoy access to electricity by the end of this year. [Sunday Leader]

¶   The Indian government is expected to invest $15 billion in cold-storage facilities over the next five years, powering much of it with renewable resources. Waste, partly through poor cold-storage infrastructure, currently may double vegetable and fruit prices. [The National]

¶   In Australia, the Greens will today announce a policy to reinstate a Victorian Renewable Energy Target in a move that could pave the way for $5 billion of investment in already approved but not yet constructed wind energy projects. [Weekly Times Now]

¶   Naoto Kan was prime minister of Japan during the Fukushima nuclear crisis. On Saturday he travelled to Australia to share his experiences with the Mirarr, traditional owners of the land partly occupied by the Ranger uranium mine. [Yahoo!7 News]
… Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has urged Australia to help wean the world off uranium instead of trying to boost its uranium exports, local media reported Saturday amid a weeklong visit by the avowed opponent of nuclear energy. [GlobalPost]

US:

¶   There seems to be some hysteria online about bird deaths associated with the Ivanpah solar project in California. For example, one news article calls the solar power plant a “death ray,” as if it is a weapon, and that hundreds of thousands of birds might be dying, or 28,000 or 1,000. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Summers in the U.S. have been warming since 1970. But on average across the country cities are even hotter, and have been getting hotter faster than adjacent rural areas. In some metro areas in the past 10 years they have spiked as much as 27° higher. [Scientific American]

¶   Solar energy is helping Nevada homeowners save thousands on their energy bills and decrease their carbon footprints. NV Energy opened its SolarGenerations program that can provide homeowners with a rebate of 40 cents per watt on approved new installations. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

¶   Energy security is a priority for the US Army, as many of its installations are at the end of the power line. The Army is enacting a three-step program of on-site renewable generation, microgrids, and energy storage to help ensure its bases never go dark again. [NASDAQ]


August 23 Energy News

August 23, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Eight billion reasons to ignore your customers” Research conducted for The Australian Conservation Foundation, The Climate Institute and WWF – Australia has found our clean energy target is actually GOOD for Australian families.  [SBS]

¶   “Is wind power viable?” Wind power currently provides 4% of all US electricity. Massachusetts residents now have the option to fuel their homes with 100% green energy through Mass Energy’s New England Green Start program. [Berkshire Eagle]

World:

¶   This summer, the Raglan mine in northern Canada began installing its first wind turbine, manufactured by Enercon, in Germany. Verret predicts that this wind turbine would replace about 5% of the mine’s diesel consumption – or 2.4-million litres of diesel. [Creamer Media's Mining Weekly]

¶   Already gaining traction in the United States and Europe, a model of getting the public to collectively fund the installation of solar panels on private properties — for as little as S$10 ($8) in exchange for modest returns — is set to be launched in Singapore next month. [TODAYonline]

¶   Southeast Asia’s sole zinc smelter, Padaeng Industry, yesterday announced a Bt1.5-billion ($50 million) investment program to turn itself into a “green business” operation, in a bid to avert bankruptcy when it has to close the smelter within 30 months. [The Nation]

¶   Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind boosted its net profit in the first half of 2014 by 256.8% to 330 million yuan ($53.65 million) compared with the year-ago period on the back of a “sector recovery”. [reNews]

¶   The Polish government has published a draft energy policy, which looks to reduce dependency on coal in favour of a low-carbon energy mix. The document released for consultation outlines a strategy of moving away from generation through coal. [World Coal]

US:

¶   Until battery cost is cut down to $100 per kWh, the majority of U.S. consumers for battery electric vehicles will be better off by choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles, according to a new study in Transportation Science. [ScienceDaily]

¶   Investment bank UBS says the addition of electric vehicles, and the proliferation of battery storage, will solve the problem of intermittency for rooftop solar and make it viable without subsidies. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The cost of solar photovoltaic panels has come down sharply in the last two years, putting solar power within shouting distance of making business sense in Kansas, say installers. Right now, just 200 of Westar Energy’s 680,000 customers have solar systems. [Kansas.com]

¶   Housing authorities that are seeking alternate energy sources or new funding streams will be particularly interested in HUD’s latest PIH notice. Its changes seek to encourage use of on-site renewable energy technology at federally subsidized housing projects. [JD Supra]

¶   Invenergy, the Chicago-based independent renewable-power producer, has repudiated a lawsuit brought against its recently completed 94 MW Orangeville wind farm in New York state, calling the suit “unfounded”. [Recharge]


August 22 Energy News

August 22, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Opening the Multi-Trillion Dollar Market for Energy Management” Energy management is one of the most important parts of our changing energy landscape. It is a market made up of part energy efficiency, part Big Data solution and part Internet of Things. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Greenland and Antarctica are home to the two largest ice sheets in the world, and a new report released Wednesday says that they are contributing to sea level rise twice as much as they were just five years ago. [Huffington Post]

¶   Construction on one of the world’s largest tidal power projects will begin in the Pentland Firth later this year, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced. Once completed, the 269-turbine project could power almost 175,000 homes and support over 100 jobs in the north of Scotland. [Herald Scotland]

¶   The first utility-scale solar PV project in Rwanda will have a generation capacity of 8.5 MW, and will boost the country’s installed power generation capacity by more than 7%. That is a big achievement for a country in which fewer than one in five homes have access to electricity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Bloomberg reports that Africa is expected to add about 1.8 gigawatts of wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal power. Sub-Saharan Africa will add more renewable energy projects in 2014 than it has in the last 14 years. [ThinkProgress]

¶   The Norwegian energy companies Statoil and Statkraft have awarded Siemens Energy an order for 67 D6 wind turbines for the Dudgeon offshore wind power plant in the UK. Each turbine is rated at 6 MW and is equipped with a 154-meter rotor. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶   The organized opposition to the federal government’s moves to abolish or reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has begun. More than 500 people attended a rally in Brisbane to protest against changes to the RET. [pv magazine]

¶   TEPCO officials told Japanese nuclear regulators that the section of ice wall between the unit #2 turbine building and the cable tunnel – estimated to hold 5000-6,000 tons of highly radioactive water – was not working. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   The TVA will shut down the Allen coal plant in Memphis, Tennessee and build a new natural gas-fired power plant on the same site in the next four years. TVA directors unanimously approved construction of a $975 million, combined-cycle gas plant as a replacement. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶   PSEG, a utility based in New Jersey, recommended that the Long Island Power Authority delay a series of new or pending projects. Nevertheless, LIPA is moving ahead with its plans for a big, new green energy source, including a proposed $1 billion wind farm. [Newsday]

¶   A Massachusetts court has reinstated the building permit for a controversial wood-burning power plant in Springfield, overturning a vote by the city’s zoning board of appeals to invalidate the building permit for the 35-MW power plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy. [WAMC]

¶   Microsoft Corp. has left the American Legislative Exchange Council because of concerns about the lobbying group’s opposition to renewable energy, according to the Sustainability Group and Walden Asset Management, sustainable investing asset management companies. [Bloomberg]

¶   In results from a new poll by Public Policy Partners released today by Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, a strong percentage of Ohio electricity customers favor clean, renewable energy sources to power the state – and do not support subsidizing aging coal plants to keep them going. [eNews Park Forest]

¶   California officials have been urged to halt the operations of the Ivanpah solar plant, which was built by BrightSource Energy in the Mojave Desert, as some environment groups have raised concerns about its impact on birds and other wildlife of the desert. [Energy Business Review]


August 21 Energy News

August 21, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Under the right scenario, exporting US coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21% drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning it at less energy-efficient US plants. This depends on which fuel is used to replace the coal in the US. [ScienceDaily]

¶   The study from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates a concept that provides opportunities for the successful conversion of lignin into a variety of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for a sustainable energy economy. [EIN News]

World:

¶   India’s plans for setting up the world’s largest solar power station has been hit by political wrangling. A newly-elected local state government says the area is only to be used for salt-making. The salt lake is home to migratory birds. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   The European Commission now expects final power demand in 2020 to be 11% lower than it did in 2009. The commission has prepared three growth scenarios for wind power, with growth projections ranging from 41% to 85.9% by 2020. [Maritime Journal]

¶   World energy markets will soon enter a period of “extreme flux,” according to a new report out from Citigroup. The report paints a bleak picture for the future of the oil industry, while predicting massive growth in the renewable sector. [OilPrice.com]

¶   In India, 306 million people don’t have access to electricity. An Australian company is helping to address this issue via solar power. One of the products they offer is the Sunking light, which comes with a small detachable solar panel. [Energy Matters]

¶   The British government is currently lobbying the European Commission for a legal exemption to keep a south-Wales power station open, despite the fact its nitrogen oxide emissions exceed EU legal limits by 500%. [RT]

¶   A public poll conducted by ComRes quizzed all three major UK political parties over their support for various renewables. More than four out of five MPs said that they supported the deployment of renewables in order to decrease dependence on oil and gas. [Solar Power Portal]

¶   With an eye on the upcoming deregulation of electricity, the Japanese government will study whether to set a basic price, to prevent any problems if electric power companies shy away from capital investment in nuclear power plants out of fear of a price war. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on anything that has a flat, clear surface. [ScienceDaily]

¶   Greenhouse gas regulations recently proposed by the EPA could make it virtually impossible to build a 895-MW coal-fired facility next to an existing plant outside Holcomb, Kansas. Carbon emissions from the new unit may exceed the limits by about 50%. [hays Post]

¶   During July, 100% of US utility-scale power installations were renewables. So far this year, 25.8% of installations were utility scale solar, 25.1% wind, combined with biomass, geothermal and hydropower, the total is 53.8%. The rest was nearly all natural gas. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In many places, anti-wind activists fight wind turbines. In Iowa, the state which produces the greatest portion of its power from wind, it’s more that people are fighting to get wind turbines on their land, according to Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Mike Prior. [Breaking Energy]

¶   In just three years, new numbers tell us, more than half of the states in the US may have rooftop solar available at the same price as the local grid’s electric rates. And that’s even without considering state and local incentives! [CleanTechnica]


August 20 Energy News

August 20, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Algae Systems LLC demonstrated a process that combines wastewater with algae to produce the world’s first energy-generating wastewater treatment process, using carbon-negative technologies. This process will yield both bio-fuel and drinking water. [Your Renewable News]

World:

¶   According to analysis produced by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International in the first half of this year, China’s coal use dropped for the first time this century – while the country’s gross domestic product actually grew. [Energy Collective]

¶   In Australia, Queensland businesses with their own renewable resources are being hit with service charges of up to $500 a day on their electricity bills, in a move the solar industry says is designed to kill the roll-out of commercial-scale rooftop solar across the state. [CleanTechnica]

¶   JinkoSolar, a solar cells and photovoltaic manufacturer, has announced that is has signed an agreement with the administration of Lishui, Zhejiang province, to set up 500 MW of solar power capacity over the next five years. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Demand for renewable electricity and power generation capacity is growing at an unprecedented rate in the Asia Pacific region. Cumulative investment in microgrids across the region will total $30.8 billion from 2014 to 2023, according to a Navigant Research report. [PennEnergy]

¶   South Korea is running out of space to store its spent nuclear fuel, with some of its storage facilities set to reach capacity by 2016, according to an independent body that advises the government on nuclear issues. [Radio Australia]

US:

¶   Last month, twelve major corporations announced a combined goal of buying 8.4 million MWh of renewable energy each year, and called for market changes to make these large-scale purchases possible. Demand for renewables has reached the big time. [Energy Collective]

¶   US Wind Inc bid a record $8.7 million to win the 1.45 GW Maryland offshore wind lease auction in the third competitive sale off the US east coast. Following a 19-round auction process, the developer claimed both the 670 MW, 32,737-acre north lease area and the 760 MW, 46,970-acre south area. [reNews]

¶   Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC has obtained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its up to 3.5 GW transmission project that will deliver wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to communities in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other states. [reNews]

¶   A 10-year energy strategy for New Hampshire is due to be completed. The draft report envisions that by 2025 consumers will be empowered statewide to make choices that will help lower energy bills through self-reliance. This will make the state cleaner and more sustainable. [WMUR Manchester]


August 19 Energy News

August 19, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new battery electrode that combines liquid-state sodium and cesium to significantly improve the safety, efficiency and life span of sodium-beta batteries has been developed by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. [Chinatopix]

World:

¶   The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century says the world now gets 22% of its energy from renewable sources. And renewables accounted for more than 56% of last year’s investments for additions to global power capacity, beating fossil fuels for the fourth year in a row. [reNews]

¶   Saudi Arabia is gearing up to generate approximately 30% of its power needs from solar power within the next 20 years. The kingdom hopes to install as much as 41 GW of PV solar energy capacity by 2032, and has enlisted the help of solar world-leader China to reach that goal. [pv magazine]

¶   Tony Abbott’s attacks on the renewable energy industry have effectively killed the wind energy and large-scale solar market in Australia – at least for the next few years. But it could spark another rush to solar for households and small businesses before remaining incentives are closed. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Clean Energy Finance Corporation says it still plans to build Australia’s largest solar power station in Alice Springs, despite similar projects losing momentum. In July, they announced a $13 million loan to triple the project’s capacity. [ABC Online]

¶   The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region plans to use electricity created by offshore wind farms by 2017. Huadian Heavy Industries will introduce ocean-energy technologies to build an industrial base for ocean wind power in Hebei province. [China.org.cn]

¶   Eco Energy World Ltd has connected five solar-energy farms totalling 70 MW to the grid in the UK in the past few weeks. The renewable energy developer’s new solar projects are located in Essex, Devon and Wiltshire. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶   A new record 22% of UK electricity was generated by wind power on August 17, according to industry body RenewableUK. The 22% meant wind outshone coal’s 13% share and nudged close to nuclear (24%) and gas (26%). [Recharge]

¶   A new report released by the Alberta government reveals a concerning trend with declining air quality as a result of tar sands operations. The data the report is based on are two years old, and there is no indication what the government’s management actions will be. [Energy Collective]

US:

¶   Minnesota’s solar power industry is in a growth spurt that’s about to accelerate. The industry, once focused largely on installing solar photovoltaic panels for homes, businesses and government, now is seeing a surge in investment by electric utilities. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   Solar power, apparently, is working out just fine in Frederick County, Maryland. Vivint Solar has installed solar panels on more than 160 Frederick County homes since the company opened its Frederick office in April, and they say they have enough jobs to keep them busy for a long time. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   A just-released Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report pegs utility-scale wind power-purchase agreement pricing as averaging $25 per MWh for projects that negotiated contracts in 2013. That’s cheap power. [Greentech Media]

¶   The US ranks second in installed wind power capacity in the world with 61 GW of total capacity following modest growth in 2013, according to a Department of Energy report. Wind power additions stalled last year with only 1,087 MW of new capacity added. [reNews]

¶   Apel Steel Corporation, based in Cullman, Alabama is having a 340 kWh PV system designed to generate 470,213 kWh of AC solar power a year – meeting 98% of the firm’s energy needs in the process and all but taking the company off the state grid. [pv magazine]

¶   Two 1,117-MW nuclear power plants being constructed at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Powersite in Fairfield County for South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (55%) and state-owned Santee Power (45%) have fallen behind schedule, causing a drop in SCE&G’s credit rating to negative. [CleanTechnica]


August 18 Energy News

August 18, 2014

World:

¶   Leading investment bank Citigroup has painted an incredibly bright future for solar energy across the globe, arguing that its rapid expansion will be driven by “pure economics” and the growing need for diversity. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Tropikwood Industries Limited and a Korean company Gimco have formed a joint venture to launch a $35 million Biomass plant in Fiji. Renewable energy developments like the Biomass plant help towards Fiji’s electricity target of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030. [Fiji Broadcasting Corporation]

¶   Australian coal and gas generators will reap $10 billion in extra profits over the next 15 years if the Abbott government pares back the renewable energy target, and the nation’s electricity bills will not fall, according to new research. [The Guardian]

¶   A group from Cornwall is visiting to Germany to learn about a technology that could supply 150,000 Cornish homes with renewable electricity from deep in the earth. They toured the plant and met with BESTEC GmbH to discuss the deep geothermal plants planned for Cornwall. [Cornishman]

¶   The big three energy retailers and other large companies are being targeted by a shame campaign from a combination of environmental advocacy groups because of their attempts to have the Renewable Energy Target reduced in Australia. [Business Spectator]

¶   Solar Systems Pty Ltd. suspended plans for a 100-MW plant in the Australian state of Victoria amid growing uncertainty about the government’s commitment to develop clean-energy sources. The government is considering doing away with Australia’s clean-energy targets. [Businessweek]

¶   The global aviation industry, led by The Boeing Company and major airlines such as American Airlines Group , has set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental footprint and increase its use of drop-in fuels such as renewable jet and renewable diesel. [NASDAQ]

¶   Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars. The 28-nation bloc’s 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years. [EurActiv]

US:

¶   The 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farm will have no significant impact on the human environment, according to a preliminary assessment released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The facility got a state permit just last week. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶   The largest proposed onshore wind project in the United States does not need a recently expired federal tax credit to be commercially viable, the head of the company planning to build 1,000 turbines in Carbon County said this week. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]

¶   The Michigan International Speedway  made a high-profile pitch for renewable energy in partnership with the utility Consumers Energy, using its Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup event as the springboard for announcing a raft of new green energy programs. [Triple Pundit]


August 17 Energy News

August 17, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “EPA’s State-by-State Carbon Limits Indicate Smart Policy, Not Arbitrary Rulemaking” Since this announcement, the usual suspects have attacked the CPP, calling its proposed state-by-state reduction standards arbitrary. Their claims couldn’t be further from reality. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Renewable electricity sources generated 38% of the electricity consumed in Spain last month. Almost 30% of the total electricity consumed last month was generated by wind energy projects, while about 4% each was generated by solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power projects. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Samsung SDI, the battery-making affiliate of Samsung, said Sunday that it has agreed with China’s Sungrow Power Supply to establish a joint venture to produce energy storage systems in China. Sungrow is China’s biggest manufacturer in energy equipment. [Korea Times]

¶   It could soon be mandatory in Gurgaon, India to install rooftop solar panels in all new homes, housing societies and commercial buildings. A new proposal would require all new houses and office buildings in the city to include a solar system as part of the permitting process. [Times of India]

¶   Kuwait is embarking a number of ambitious projects to expand use of alternative energy sources to meet the growing demand for electricity and secure sustainable development. The efforts are spearheaded by Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. [MENAFN.COM]

¶   A tender for the generation of 496 MW of electricity by solar power was recently issued by the Russian government. Russia’s allocation for power generation by alternative energy sources is still small, but growing. [RIA Novosti]

¶   The current Japanese central government considers nuclear power an important baseload power source and pins hopes on it. Nevertheless, at the local level things look very different. Many communities have begun adding renewable power to their energy supplies. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   The US Department of Agriculture’s road map details the benefits installing 11,000 new anaerobic digestion plants across the US. They could be used to produce energy or transport fuels and also have major positive effects in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. [Energy Digital]

¶   The EPA has now formally proposed to limit certain super-potent greenhouse gases from use in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols and foams in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. [Energy Collective]

¶   Tesla has announced what they call the “Infinite Mile Warranty.” The infinite mile warranty is for the drive units of 85 kWh Model S’s, and it isn’t just for the first owner, but for anyone a Model S might be sold to. It also applies retroactively. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Good solar policies in California helped triple solar energy nationwide between 2011 and 2013. Last year, solar capacity in California grew an impressive 48%, bringing total installed capacity in the state to 5661 MW. [Energy Collective]


August 16 Energy News

August 16, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   It is now generally recognised that rooftop solar is comparable or cheaper than grid prices in many countries over the last few years. The big question now is about the combination of solar and battery storage. Some large organizations say it could arrive in four to six years, or even sooner. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Sharp has launched an energy storage system aimed at large individual consumers that could “dramatically cut utility demand charges.” The SmartStorage energy solution stores a large amount of electricity stored in reserve and releases it selectively. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Chile has made available $796,480 to finance small-scale renewable energy projects in rural, isolated and vulnerable regions of the country. Individuals and cooperatives can apply for up to $51,000 to help finance power projects, research and development, and training workshops. [Recharge]

¶   Swedish wave power developer Seabased has installed 10 linear point generators at its Sotenas project off the country’s south-west coast. The company said this week that the 30 kW wave energy converters were lifted into place earlier this summer outside Smogen/Kungshamn. [reNews]

¶   Prime Minister Abe’s plans to quickly restart Japan’s atomic energy program remain stalled. While Japanese businesses have continued to press politicians and bureaucrats to bring plants across the country back online, exactly when any of Japan’s reactors will restart is uncertain. [Washington Post]

US:

¶   The US IRS has finally clarified rules regarding how wind projects qualify for federal tax incentives, leading analysts to believe that the industry can finally extract itself from the uncertain log-jam it has been in since the end of 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The best chance for ending the brutal California drought, a big El Niño, seems to be disappearing. Earlier this week NOAA said that the chance of El Niño has decreased to about 65% during fall and early winter.” And if we do see one, it’s likely to be either weak or moderate. [Energy Collective]

¶   The California Public Utilities Commission plans to open a new proceeding to decide how to create a process for maintaining and growing the distribution grid that takes all the distributed energy resources coming onto the grid into account. [Energy Collective]

¶   In Maine, the Skowhegan State Fair, which wraps up its 196th year Saturday with truck pulls and a country rock performance by the band Bad Penny, is being powered solely on wind energy this year after a donation by two wind advocacy groups. [Press Herald]

¶   A proposal calls for a 280-MW photovoltaic solar power facility on about 3,000 acres of the 72,000-acre Jack Ranch owned by the Hearst Corp. in the Chalome Valley near the borders of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Fresno and Kings counties, California. [Monterey County Herald]

¶   Empower Energies, Inc., a leading Clean Energy Portfolio Solutions company, announced the completion and commissioning of a 3.7 MW solar array in the Town of Shirley, MA. The ground-mounted installation features 13,047 PV solar panels on 27 acres of Shirley Water District land. [Power Engineering International]

¶   A federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was within its rights to require electric utilities to make regional transmission plans. The plans mandate that regional planning for new transmission infrastructure account for renewable energy integration. [The Hill]

¶   DVO announced the first anaerobic digester installation in California. Each day, the digester will receive 55,000 gallons of solid and liquid waste from a nearby dairy farm with approximately 2,000 head of cattle. It will reduce the farm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90% and provide power. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶   The US Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas-fired electric power generation in the contiguous US will increase to 1600 million MWh by 2040, a 1.3% average annual increase. [Energy Global]


August 15 Energy News

August 15, 2014

World:

¶   The price of thermal coal has dropped 51% since July 2011, according to Australian Ethical Investment – and the company’s international equities trust portfolio manager Nathan Lim thinks the trend is likely to continue. Nine important reasons for this are provided. [Property Observer]

¶   Anaerobic digestion specialist Biogen has successfully completed construction and begun operations at the largest food waste anaerobic digestion plant in Wales. The plant will recycle 22,500 metric tons of food waste every year, generating 1 MW of renewable electricity. [Biomass Magazine]

¶   A project called Melanesia’s Million Miracle Programme is now under way to bring electricity to one million people in the Melanesian countries of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu by 2020. The project will use mostly solar energy to reduce reliance and spending on kerosene. [SciDev.Net]

¶   The Ikea store in the Sydney suburb of Tempe will be the largest single-roof PV project in Australia, at about 1.2-MW. Worldwide, Ikea gets 70% of its electricity from renewable power, with more than 550,000 solar panels at its 300-plus locations. [Sourceable]

¶   In Germany, wind generation of electricity rose by 66% in the first six months of the year, as capacity was added before incentives were scaled back on August 1. Schleswig-Holstein, which profiting from its northern sea winds has constructed 159 wind turbines this year. [The Local.de]

¶   North West Bicester is set to be the UK’s first true zero carbon eco town and will feature the country’s largest domestic photovoltaic solar panel array as part of its composition. The solar aspect entails 17,500 m² of panels mounted across the rooftops of all homes and the energy centre. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   In a set of papers published Thursday in the Journal of Heredity, a US publication, Japanese and US scientists warned that radioactive materials released from by the core meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi could have caused abnormalities in the genes of nearby birds and insects. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   Many states recognize how clean energy can be a positive driver for competitiveness and economic development. And 53 of the Fortune 100 companies have specific clean energy goals, with clean energy becoming an increasingly important factor in business decisions. [The Providence Journal]

¶   Experts in renewable and sustainable energy say Arkansas could meet 40% of its greenhouse gas reduction requirements under a proposed EPA rule by increased energy efficiency. Further, the proposed rule from the EPA presents opportunities for Arkansas. [KARK]

¶   In Iowa, ground was broken for a $380 million Red Rock Hydroelectric Project, which will retrofit the dam currently in place at Lake Red Rock with the ability to produce energy for up 18,000 homes in four states. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   The Guam Power Authority is anticipating a mid-July 2015 completion date for its wind turbine pilot project. The $1.65 million project is being funded largely by US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs grants amounting to $1.5 million. [Marianas Variety]

¶   A poll of US utility customers shows 81% expect their utility provider to use higher levels of renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal biogas in the future to meet their energy needs, GE’s Digital Energy business reported. [North American Windpower]

¶   Delaware is again among the states leading the nation in solar energy – ranked seventh per capita for cumulative solar installations – according to a report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center. [Cape Gazette]


August 14 Energy News

August 14, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “‘Experts’ Have Been Misleading People About Renewable Energy” one of the striking patterns of behaviour in the energy industry over the last decade has been the ability of the “established” energy experts to underestimate growth of renewable energy and to overplay fossil fuels. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   Morgan Stanley’s report on Solar Power and Energy Storage contains a fascinating comment about the potential ramifications of Tesla’s focus on developing large numbers of electric batteries, indicating that the batteries could be a grid defection tipping point in the US and Europe. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   A Western Australian government review has revealed the full catastrophe of the state’s electricity market, highlighting the extraordinary waste and misdirected subsidies that are costing it billions of dollars, much of this spent on fossil fuel plants that have never been used. [RenewEconomy]

¶   RWE, Germany’s second-biggest utility by market value, posted a 62% drop in profit on Thursday and announced plans to shut down more power stations. The utility blamed the expansion of renewable energy in Germany. [Financial Times]

¶   The UK solar power industry accused the government of undermining the development of renewable technologies, after it emerged that a total of £205 million a year will be available for major forms of renewable energy, including wind, solar farms, and biomass power plants. [The Northern Echo]

¶   A British Columbian First Nation Tribal Council signed a partnership agreement this week with the independent power firm Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. with respect to six separate run-of-river power projects, worth up to $720 million, on streams within their territory. [Vancouver Sun]

¶   New Zealand gentailer Contact Energy unveiled its most advanced geothermal power station at the “world-class” Wairākei geothermal resource. The 159 MW Te Mihi station boasts two 83 MW steam turbines. [Business Spectator]

US:

¶   If the controversial northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is approved and built, the resulting amount of carbon emitted into earth’s atmosphere could be up to four times greater than the US State Department estimated, a new scientific paper shows. [Resilience]

¶   A grass-roots group based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is working to “responsibly retire” the Schiller Station power plant in Newington and is increasing pressure on state legislators to force divestiture of the plant. The coal-burning plant is owned by Public Service of New Hampshire. [Seacoastonline.com]

¶   Ford Motor Company is teaming with DTE Energy to build Michigan’s largest solar array at Ford World Headquarters. The project will provide employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. [Stockhouse]

¶   Oklahoma Gas and Electric was ultimately unsuccessful when it took the US EPA to court over the regional haze, mercury, and air toxics rules. Now, the time to start complying with the regulations has come, which the utility says will mean higher electricity bills for customers. [KGOU]

¶   Hoosier Energy has entered into a 15-year power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables North America that will add 25 MW of wind energy from an Illinois wind farm beginning in December of 2014. [Inside Indiana Business]

¶   Former President Jimmy Carter is back, this time proposing a carbon tax to fight global warming and calling out skeptics. Carter said that such a tax was “the only reasonable approach” to fighting global warming. [Daily Caller]

¶   The US DOE issued the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line, clearing it for final permitting. It is expected to bring New York up to 1,000 MW of renewable power, reducing dependency on the Indian Point nuclear plant. [POWER magazine]


August 13 Energy News

August 13, 2014

World:

¶   Opponents of wind and solar power decry their intermittent nature. In the U.K. this week the tables have temporarily turned as wind power is replacing power lost when four nuclear plants unexpectedly had to be taken offline. [ThinkProgress]

¶   Germany’s renewables did it again, a new record! Renewable energy produced about 81 TWh, or 31% of the nation’s electricity for the first half of 2014. Solar, wind, and biomass all increased from the first half of last year, while Coal, gas, and nuclear all declined. [CleanTechnica]

¶   According to figures from the Council of European Energy Regulators, Germany has one of the most secure grids in Europe. It is also more secure than it was before the country’s move to renewables began. Customers experienced an average of under 16 minutes of outage per year. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The river Avon could provide clean and reliable heating for hundreds of homes and businesses across Bristol. The Avon could accommodate heat pumps with the capacity to generate more than 1 MW of power – enough to provide heating and hot water for up to 500 homes. [Bristol Post]

¶   Privatisation of  the Australian Broadcasting Corp could be an ultimate blow to Australia’s clean energy policies if it pushes through. The county’s fossil fuels think tank highly recommends the public broadcaster to be silenced by transferring its management to the private sector. [Asian Correspondent]

¶   The International Union of Architects has unanimously adopted a declaration committing to the phasing out of carbon dioxide emissions in the built environment by 2050, presented to it by Australian Institute of Architects chief executive David Parken. [eco-business.com]

¶   Iberdrola has begun construction work on the Pier II wind farm, with an installed capacity of 66 MW, in Mexico. Located in the municipality of Esperanza, the Pier II wind farm will feature 33 Gamesa G97 wind turbines, each with 2 MW capacity. [Energy Business Review]

¶   Brazilian project developers have offered for auction electricity from 1,034 projects with a total capacity of almost 26,300 MW. These include 626 wind energy projects with total capacity of about 15,350 MW, 400 solar power projects with total capacity of 10,790 MW, and others. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed. [Vermont Public Radio]

¶   Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index found more than two million job postings in the green energy sector in quarters one and two of 2014 alone. This is almost an 88% increase from the first and second quarters in 2013. [Utility Products]

¶   Many retiring nuclear and coal power plants may not need to be replaced on a megawatt-to-megawatt basis, according to a new report. This results from new technologies and distributed generation that improve energy efficiency, along with soft demand growth. [Renew Grid]

¶   Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has defined three Wind Energy Areas offshore North Carolina, which total approximately 307,590 acres, for potential commercial wind energy development. [The Maritime Executive]

¶   The Tennessee Valley Authority said work on its newest reactor — the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 — is more than 90 % complete and the unit could begin generating power by the end of next year. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]


August 12 Energy News

August 12, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Fracking: Energy Abundance or Crisis?” As the boom in fracking wells in the northern Appalachian Marcellus shale region now produces seven times more natural gas than in 2010, the implications for policy and impacts on the energy market are starting to show. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

World:

¶   Three million Kenyans will benefit from increased wind power on their national grid. The country’s director renewable energy and petroleum said independent power producers will reduce the cost of power by up to 40% by use of cheaper, reliable technologies such as wind. [The Star]

¶   The UK’s wind energy industry set a new hourly output record for August late on Sunday, as strong winds led to a surge in renewable energy generation. Wind power delivered an average of 5.0 GW of power over a period of an  hour, meeting 17% of national demand. [Business Green]

¶   The Indian government plans to rapidly accelerate wind energy generation, adding an ambitious 10,000 MW every year, or five times the total new capacity that came up in the last fiscal, as the Modi government takes steps to reduce dependence on costly energy imports. [Economic Times]

¶   A report issued by Hanergy Holdings Group and China New Energy Chamber of Commerce says China became the world’s biggest market for solar power in 2013, with the country’s newly installed photovoltaic generating capacity jumping 232% on-year to 12 GW. [Your Renewable News]

¶   Plentiful resources of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro-electric energy, combined with a need for new, more economical power capacity, are fuelling strong momentum in clean energy investment in Mexico and Central America, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Business Spectator]

¶   EDF Energy is taking three of its nuclear reactors in Britain offline for inspection this week after finding a defect in a reactor of a similar design, the company said on Monday. The three reactors will be offline for an estimated eight-week period. [Yahoo!7 News]

¶   According to the latest weekly analysis by NPD Solarbuzz on UK PV market deployment, the UK’s cumulative capacity has now reached 5 GW. This makes the UK only the sixth country to have more than 5 GW capacity. [Solar Power Portal]

US:

¶   Environmentalists want TVA to slow down before building another major gas plant just because natural gas prices are now very favorable. One alternative is to bring in high-voltage DC power from windfarms in Oklahoma and Texas. Another is local solar and wind. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

¶   The Northeastern United States’ largest garage mounted solar canopy has gone online at Boston Properties’ Bay Colony.  The solar canopy covers 60,000 square feet atop a parking garage, producing 840 kW, or over a million kWh annually. [EarthTechling]


August 11 Energy News

August 11, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   UK-based Cenex has just completed a two-year project to reduce both the weight and cost of EV batteries, succeeding by shaving 99 pounds, or about 41% of the weight off a standard EV battery, reports Green Car Congress. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A new study investigates various models of how bicycle infrastructure influences cities. It reasons that policies and projects supportive of bike lanes are deserving of the change; deserving of the money spent which becomes money saved. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München have decided to jointly invest about 11 billion Swedish kronor ($1.97 billion) in a second joint offshore wind farm off the German North Sea coast. With a capacity of 288 MW and is expected to power for about 400,000 households. [Business Wire]

World:

¶   Uganda’s government has started paying power connection fees for rural households to encourage use of electricity by the rural folks, energy minister, Irene Muloni, has disclosed. She says all households near the power lines (within 15 metres range) are being connected. [New Vision]

¶   The Indian Railways are working on a project which would replace, to a major extent, the traditionally used diesel and conventionally produced thermal electricity, by eco-friendly and cheaper resources in the form of solar and wind power. [The Indian Republic]

¶   A mapping study has revealed the energy and environment sector is one of the fastest growing in both Wales and the rest of the UK, employing 58,000 people in more than 2,000 companies with a combined turnover of £4.8 billion. [WalesOnline]

US:

¶   Ocean acidification hurts infant oyster populations that cannot develop thick enough shells to survive. Washington state oyster farmers deal with this by adding alkaline chemicals into controlled environments, but as acidification worsens it will hurt adult populations as well. [Energy Collective]

¶   California has lagged behind other states on demand response. This week, a group of utilities, environmental groups, consumer advocates and demand response and smart grid companies filed a settlement agreement meant to help unlock the potential of demand response in the state. [Energy Collective]

¶   More than 650 US organizations now rely wholly on “green” power resources – such as solar, wind and geothermal – to meet their electricity needs, according to the US EPA’s Green Power Partnership’s latest quarterly report. [Triple Pundit]

¶   According to the Electric Power Research Institute, the total recoverable wave power along the US continental shelf is 1,170 TWh/yr, or enough to power about 110 million homes in the US. That would be about 70% of all US homes. [The Market Oracle]

¶   Three of Ohio’s four largest utilities — American Electric Power, Duke Energy and FirstEnergy — are asking state regulators to guarantee profits on a select number of power plants that might otherwise be decommissioned. [Columbus Dispatch]


August 10 Energy News

August 10, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “RMI Blows The Lid Off The ‘Baseload Power’ Myth (Video)” Amory Lovins has very effectively debunked the myth that a reliable electricity supply from renewable resources needs either giant baseload coal, gas, or nuclear power stations or some yet untested cheap storage solution. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   First Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar photovoltaic cells and modules, announced that a cell made at its Ohio R&D center achieved an efficiency of 21%, the highest on record by a non-concentrating cadmium-telluride (CdTe) cell. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Scientists in South Korea say they have found a way of converting used cigarette butts into a material capable of storing energy that could help power everything from mobile phones to electric cars. [Reuters]

World:

¶   Australian Prim Minister Tony Abbott is under fresh pressure to put climate change on the agenda at the upcoming G20 gathering, with a group of medical scientists led by a Nobel laureate warning Australians face “serious health risks” if the issue isn’t urgently tackled. [The Guardian]

¶   Like other developing countries, Vietnam has been powered by hydropower dams and fossil fuels, while other sources are underdeveloped. The government has taken to saying that if it doesn’t build dams, the only other feasible options are coal and natural gas. [Thanh Nien Daily]

US:

¶   Leading US solar company SunPower has flagged the introduction of battery storage into the commercial market in 2015 in Australia, as it looks to rapidly expand its suite of home energy service offerings. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Aside from hosting a majority of the nation’s wind farms, the Midwestern U.S. is not known for aggressively pushing the agenda on clean energy issues. But that may be changing as Minnesota joins other leading states in the effort to remake the electricity sector. [Energy Collective]

¶   A new energy conservation effort from the non-profit Efficiency Vermont is expected to shave a significant percentage off the electric bills of 19 large companies. The Industrial Peak Initiative aims to reduce consumption at peak times that bring extra charges. [Comcast SportsNet New England]

¶   There was good news for renewable energy companies on Friday, as the IRS lowered qualification threshold for qualifying for tax credits. The new threshold has been lowered from 5% to 3% of total energy project costs incurred before the start of this year. [Bidness Etc]

¶   While Florida advertises itself as the Sunshine State, power company executives and regulators have worked successfully to keep most Floridians from using that sunshine to generate their own power. [Los Angeles Times]


August 9 Energy News

August 9, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Flaw and Order: How Brookings Got Its Analysis of Wind and Solar Costs So Wrong” A paper from the Brookings Institution, claiming that wind and solar were our most expensive electric resources was wrong. Why? It was based on badly obsolete data. [Greentech Media]

World:

¶   Germany already boasts over 7,000 home solar plus energy storage systems, and some analysts suggest the US could see similar growth once Tesla’s much-touted battery “Gigafactory” starts producing at scale. [Scientific American]

¶   A day after Chinese state media reported that Beijing is set to ban the use and trade of coal in its inner districts, Xinhua has now reported that the head of the National Energy Administration has said that China is aiming to install 13 GW worth of solar PV power in 2014. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Gamesa, one of the world’s largest wind energy companies, has announced that it has installed a total of 30 GW worth of wind power with the completion of one of the eight turbines being installed at the Tornio wind farm in Finland. [CleanTechnica]

¶   South Australia’s wind farms produced enough electricity to meet a record 43 per cent of the state’s power needs during July, and on occasions during the month provided all the state’s electricity needs. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Vice-President Namadi Sambo has said that Nigeria would fully utilise its abundant renewable energy resources to enhance electricity supply across the country. He particularly mentioned solar energy, which Nigeria has in abundance. [Nigerian Tribune]

US:

¶   Massive algae blooms on Lake Erie have robbed Toledo of clean drinking water, and boiling water with blue-green algae toxins just concentrates the poison. The causes include loss of wetlands, crumbling infrastructure, invasive species, and climate change. [Energy Collective]

¶   Residential solar provider Sungevity, Inc, headquartered in Oakland, CA, has announced that it has expanded its solar services into New Mexico and Vermont. Sungevity was ranked the third most productive residential solar installer in America, by a GTM Research report. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In Springfield, Missouri, City Utilities held a dedication ceremony for a 40-acre solar farm northeast of the city that officials say can power approximately 900 homes each year. The site will produce 4.95 MW, making it the largest solar farm in the state. [KSMU Radio]

¶   Some utilities say they are discouraged by the way the EPA’s carbon reduction proposal treats new nuclear projects that are coming online or attempts to help existing facilities overcome the economic factors that threaten them with retirement. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶   Wyoming’s Industrial Siting Council voted 7-0 to approve a proposal for a 1,000-turbine wind farm. During the two-day public hearing, no one spoke against the project. The nearly $5 billion project could produce up to 3,000 MW, or 10 million MWh annually, with 114 permanent jobs. [Casper Star-Tribune Online]


August 8 Energy News

August 8, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Solar Power on the Rise: Rooftop Solar, Large-Scale PV, CSP, and the Solar Revolution” Shining. Soaring. Skyrocketing. Solar is so exciting, we’re running out of adjectives. America’s solar power revolution is the subject of a new UCS report. It’s a story worth celebrating. [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

Science and Technology:

¶   A group of chemical and mechanical engineers wants to harness the power of the sun to fuel cars, airplanes and semi-trucks. If the energy from sunlight can be harnessed and boosted in a single spot, it can be used to break chemical bonds and create chemical feedstocks for fuel. [PBS NewsHour]

World:

¶   A full-scale tidal power generator aimed at showing the potential for renewable energy has been unveiled in Wales. Power generated by the 400 kW demonstration device – to be installed within a matter of weeks – will be fed into the National Grid and used to power nearby homes. [BBC News]

¶   An Australian Energy Market Operator report says Australia is facing an energy glut. It raises serious questions about the viability of existing coal-fired power stations, but might also result in more pressure on the Federal Government to reduce the Renewable Energy Target. [Yahoo Singapore News]

¶   Iranian officials have announced the country’s investment in solar and wind renewable energy will result in 500 MW of electricity generated by the wind farms and solar plants sent into the country’s national grid by March 2015. [SmartMeters]

¶   A set of community councils is launching a major community consultation exercise on the regeneration proposals for the Scottish North Carrick region over the next three months, which includes a community wind farm. [allmediascotland.com]

¶   UK renewable power producer Infinis said it will wait for the outcome of the referendum on independence before building two wind farms, the 43 MW A’Chruach and 55 MW Galawhistle projects in Scotland. The vote is on September 18. [Recharge]

¶   The Japanese government and TEPCO are considering pumping up contaminated groundwater from 42 wells around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s Nos. 1 to 4 reactors and releasing it into the Pacific Ocean after removing almost all radioactive substances. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   Governor Peter Shumlin marked the completion this week of the South Ridge Solar facility, the first 500-kilowatt solar net-metering project in Vermont. The solar farm provides power to Middlebury College as part of the school’s commitment to become carbon neutral. [Rutland Herald]

¶   Customers of Vermont Gas Systems are now burning renewable natural gas as a small mix of their overall natural gas consumption, the company announced Thursday. Biomethane is coming from a landfill operator in Quebec and piped into the transmission system. [Barre Montpelier Times Argus]

¶   Currently, Milwaukee utility We Energies pays about 9.2¢ per kWh for electricity generated from biogas digestors. In a pending rate filing is a proposal, they plan to cut the buyback rate for new customer-sited bioenergy projects down to 4.24¢ per kWh in 2016. [Biomass Magazine]

¶   Distributed wind is the use of smaller, on-site wind turbines for a home or business power supply. Established wind companies are now bringing distributed wind to the masses by providing a turbine leasing solution to farmers. [RenewablesBiz]


August 7 Energy News

August 7, 2014

World:

¶   SunPower’s Fab 4 facility to produce 350 MW of solar panels annually in the Philippines, will start up in 2015 and reach full capacity until 2016. After that, Fab 5 may be ready for solar panel production by 2017, and will have a solar panel production capacity of 700 MW or more. [CleanTechnica]

¶   India may emulate a solar pricing model that made Germany and Spain the biggest markets for the technology, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to spur renewable energy. Germany has installed 35 GW of solar compared to India’s 2.4 GW, according to data from Bloomberg. [Livemint]

¶   Wircon, a German renewable energy company, has teamed up with Sino-American solar power specialist SPI to target the UK solar photovoltaic market. They plan to set up a joint venture company to develop solar energy projects in the UK, with an initial target of 55 MW. [The Construction Index]

¶   The World Bank Group has committed $5 billion for energy projects in six African countries as part of US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative. The six beneficiary countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania – will receive support. [Energy Matters]

¶   As coalition forces leave the old Afghan Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, they plan to take diesel generators with them, according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The generators provide much of the province’s electricity. [Motherboard]

¶   Greece’s Blue Star Ferries, a subsidiary of Attica Group, and Eco Marine Power (EMP) of Japan, will deploy and evaluate renewable energy technology on board the passenger and car ferry Blue Star Delos. [Ship & Bunker]

¶   In sub-Saharan Africa, only 8% of the population in rural areas has access to mains electricity, but mini-grids – localised generation, transmission and distribution of power – could change all that. [The Guardian]

¶   Almost all of the nuclear fuel in the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melted within days of the March 11, 2011, disaster, according to a new estimate by Tokyo Electric Power Co. [Asahi Shimbun]

¶   The long-awaited restart of Japan’s nuclear power plants is facing yet another setback and may be delayed until 2015, Japanese media said on Wednesday, piling pressure on struggling utilities to push for fresh price hikes. [Japan Today]

US:

¶   The State of Indiana last week joined 10 other states and the Commonwealth of Kentucky in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the US EPA’s new Clean Power Plan, which aims to achieve targeted reductions in carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. [NUVO Newsweekly]

¶   New England States Committee on Energy, a group of the governors’ utility regulators, decided to delay discussions about the tariff with the New England Power Pool, an industry group, for a month or so, to consider defeat of a “clean energy bill” in Massachusetts. [Boston Business Journal]

¶   Tesla Motors, the manufacturer and proponent of electric vehicles, might deal a crippling blow to utility companies with its plan to make renewable energy and the storage of that energy more accessible to the public. [Bakken.com]

¶   America’s wind power market continues to boom on the back of government renewable energy incentives, but the industry’s peak body says Congress must provide assurance it will continue to support tax breaks for private investors. [Energy Matters]

¶   Northern Power Systems, based in Barre, Vermont, a next generation renewable energy technology company and maker of wind turbines, has announced financial results for its three and six month periods ended June 30, 2014. Revenues have tripled while the net loss has fallen. [Vermont Biz]

¶   Conservative groups failed Tuesday in a coordinated effort to unseat several moderate House Republicans. Despite a flood of negative mail in the final weeks of the campaign, all of the targeted members appear to have survived their primary challenges, several by wide margins. [KCUR]


August 6 Energy News

August 6, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Sowing Confusion About Renewable Energy” Readers of The Economist may be surprised to read that solar and wind power are “the most expen­sive way of reducing green­house-gas emissions,” while “nuclear plants…are cheaper.” But not everything you read is true. [Forbes]

World:

¶   The University of Queensland and First Solar have begun construction on a 3.275 MW solar PV research facility at UQ’s Gatton campus. It will be the largest solar PV research facility in the southern hemisphere. [UQ News]

¶   A sugar mill in Queensland has fuelled one its boilers solely on macadamia nut shells. The boiler is normally run on bagasse, a cane by-product, but that was swapped for 3,000 tonnes of shell during a three-week system maintenance, the equivalent of 1,800 tonnes of coal. [ABC Online]

¶   The end of the price on carbon triggered a drop in output from Snowy Hydro last month, while high levels of wind and solar energy helped drive the share of coal-fired power stations in Australia’s main electricity grid to a record low, consultants Pitt & Sherry say. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   Jordan is carrying out a project to use wind power in Tafila province in the south of the country. The project’s energy production is around 117 MW, generating 400 GWh yearly. The project will be built in mid-2015, with an estimated cost of around $285 million. [Al-Monitor]

¶   The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has said it was examining the benefits of providing support to wind, solar, and other low carbon projects located outside the UK through the new Contract for Difference regime, as it looks to meeting its renewable goals for 2020. [Business Green]

¶   Europe’s energy dilemma – burning the dirtiest coal while meeting pollution targets – is crystallizing in opposition to a plan that would uproot 700-year-old villages on the German-Polish border and dig two pits the size of Manhattan. [Businessweek]

¶   The message from energy ministers as part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit was that coal and natural gas will have to dominate the continent’s near future, even as officials also emphasized how deeply threatened the region is by climate change. [Environment & Energy Publishing]

¶   At best, nuclear power accounted for only 10.8% of the world’s electricity last year – down from a peak of 17.6% in 1996 – and faces a difficult future in at least the short term because the world’s reactor fleet is aging, while new projects are hit by high costs and construction delays. [MinnPost.com]

US:

¶   Investment bank Morgan Stanley says the global electricity utility industry is still underestimating the potential of EV maker Tesla to achieve a dramatic reduction in battery storage costs, luring more and more consumers to go “off-grid.” [RenewEconomy]

¶   The Long Island Power Authority and the state of New York are reviewing recommendations from PSEG Long Island that conclude that the region has plenty of power to get it up to 2022, including a finding that projects such as the proposed Caithness II plant will not be needed. [Newsday]

¶   Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a report showing strong solar growth across the nation including a 30% increase in New York in 2013. The report says effective state and local public policy is more important than the quality of sunlight. [Long Island Exchange]

¶   Pacific Energy Solutions signed a contract with the US Navy to supply 30,400 MWh annually in Hawaii. They will install 68,645 photovoltaic modules at 14 project sites at military installations, offsetting 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. [Your Renewable News]


August 5 Energy News

August 5, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A team of researchers led by Newcastle University has produced an all-in-one Biofuel Micro Trigeneration prototype system fueled by unprocessed plant oils that provides combined cooling, heating, and electrical power. This first-generation system is designed for use in homes. [Gizmag]

World:

¶   SolarReserve is bringing 20 MW of utility-scale solar power to El Salvador’s Acajutla plant, while advancing its share of the Latin American solar market. The Santa Monica, California–based company won El Salvador’s first ever utility-scale solar tender. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Cape Town, South Africa, will be a new base of US solar panel manufacturer Jinko Solar, as the firm announced that it will be opening a R80 million ($7.5 million) 120 MW solar photovoltaic module production facility in the city. [htxt.africa]

¶   Beijing will stop using coal and close coal-fired power plants and other coal facilities in six of its capital districts by 2020. With pollution in Beijing reaching levels more than double levels considered hazardous, the country is increasingly installing clean wind and solar power. [NEWS.com.au]

¶   India will provide low-cost loans and grants to set up solar power parks across the country to host as much as 20 gigawatts of capacity, about 10 times what it has built to date. The parks will host large plants ranging between 500 MW to 1,000 MW that will be connected to the grid. [eco-business.com]

¶   As Australia’s federal government commits to a future dependent on the nation’s vast coal resource, two of the countries upon which this shaky economic plan is most dependent – India and China – look to be closing the door on the heavy polluting fossil fuel. [RenewEconomy]

¶   France is set to cut fossil fuel use and ramp up renewable energy generation after passing a long-awaited energy and climate law last week. The law sets targets to reduce consumption of fossil fuels 30% by 2030 and get 32% of energy from renewable sources. [Responding to Climate Change]

US:

¶   Mississippi Power will convert from coal to natural gas or retire several units at plants in south Mississippi and Greene County, Alabama, as part of an agreement to end litigation over construction of a coal-fired power plant in Kemper County. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   Three members of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation Advisory Committee resigned and criticized the administration’s support of a bill that could lead to the construction of a natural gas pipeline across the state. [Platts]

¶   Green groups say the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to weaken radiation standards at nuclear power plants would triple the likelihood of people in surrounding communities developing cancer. [The Hill]


August 4 Energy News

August 4, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new material could allow more utilities to store large amounts of renewable energy, says a new research. The new electrode made of a liquid metal alloy enables sodium-beta batteries to last longer, helps streamline their manufacturing process and reduces the risk of accidental fire. [Big News Network.com]

World:

¶   US-based First Solar has signed an EPC contract for the 52.5 MW Shams Ma’an PV plant in Jordan. The agreement for the facility, which will be the largest solar PV installation in the Middle East, also covers long-term operations and maintenance. [reNews]

¶   Siemens AG Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser is leaning on the manufacturer’s €19 billion ($25 billion) financial services division as a tool to help fund nascent technologies and promote them with customers. [Businessweek]

¶   About 25% of Australian power generation profits come from supplying power 0.4% of the time at peak prices. Renewable resources are destroying that profitability. Coal-burning power stations are being hit hardest, because they need to keep producing around the clock. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   The government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh plans to add 500 MW of wind power capacity in the state within a year and is revising the wind power potential estimates. It has a typical advantage of high wind velocity which has been tapped scarcely. [Deccan Chronicle]

¶   Britain, a land of cloudy skies and reliable rain, is fast becoming the hottest spot in Europe for many investors in solar energy. The UK has benefited from a combination of stable subsidies since 2011, public support for solar, amenable planning authorities and creative finance. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   The proportion of electricity produced in Western Australia’s main power grid from coal has jumped more than 30% in seven years despite carbon pricing and concerns about climate change. New figures reveal that coal has overtaken gas as the dominant fuel source. [The West Australian]

¶   TEPCO looks likely to miss a deadline to filter out a cancer-causing radioactive isotope from water stored at its wrecked nuclear plant in Fukushima and treat all water at the site by March 31, 2015, according to Bloomberg News calculations. [Businessweek]

US:

¶   The US DOE has just teamed up with EPA and the Department of Agriculture to announce a new initiative for ramping up manure-to-biogas at dairy farms and other farming operations, called the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Even with hydropower, efficiency is important. The INN Electric Cooperative’s hydro dam in Alaska is an example. Efficient operation reduced the amount of diesel power needed to power the three villages it supplies from 40,000 to 50,000 gallons to less than 5,000 per year. [Anchorage Daily News]

¶   Rather than resisting change, San Diego Gas & Electric has been working with the Environmental Defense Fund and others at Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator to explore a vision of a future with even greater quantities of distributed energy resources. [Business Spectator]

¶   Leveraging the US’s strengths in its renewable supply of cows, garbage, and flushable toilets could help make electric vehicle charging stations – including Tesla’s Supercharger sites – as numerous and widespread as gas stations. [USA TODAY]


August 3 Energy News

August 3, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Coal: True cost and effect” The Philippine government claims that coal is cheap. But a Greenpeace study debunks this. Hydro, geothermal and biomass are cheaper.  The study said that a typical new 600-MW coal-fired power plant has a price tag of $2 billion. [Business Mirror]

Science and Technology:

¶   The Council of Economic Advisors just released an important analysis on the costs of delaying climate action. It sounds a familiar alarm: climate change is here, it is very costly, and doing nothing to reduce dangerous carbon pollution runs intolerably high risks. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Governments across Indian states seem to be scrambling to launch programs to set up solar rooftop projects after the success of such projects in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. The latest state to join the bandwagon is Tamil Nadu. [CleanTechnica]

¶    In South Africa, former homeland areas in the Eastern Cape’s Transkei and Ciskei regions are gearing up, through the House of Traditional Leaders, to take on private farming enterprises for a share in the lucrative renewable energy market, especially as regards wind power. [Independent Online]

¶   A massive solar farm which it is claimed would power up to 3,000 homes has been proposed for Swansea, Wales. Sheep and cattle graze on the proposed site, but the company claims this could continue beneath the solar panels. [Southwales Evening Post]

¶   India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday said clean energy was the ‘mantra’ of his government and promised to utilize money from the National Clean Energy Fund to promote solar and wind power in a big way. [Times of India]

US:

¶   The Edison Electric Institute, the power industry’s main trade group, is calling on utilities to better promote electric cars in order to stimulate demand for electricity and help reverse trends that threaten the long-term viability of some in the industry. [Energy Collective]

¶   Panasonic, Tesla’s current lithium-ion battery cell supplier, has now signed an agreement with Tesla on how the two will jointly carry out construction of this factory in the United States, including the roles each will play. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Kansas and Indiana utility regulators have approved a new transmission project to carry electricity from wind farms in Kansas to Illinois and Indiana. The $2 billion Grain Belt project, and regulators in Missouri plan to hold public hearings this week. [The State Journal-Register]

¶   Dismantling the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California will take two decades and cost $4.4 billion, but spent radioactive fuel will be held at the site indefinitely, according to a game plan from Southern California Edison. [Chicago Daily Herald]


August 2 Energy News

August 2, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Energy bill’s failure sets back state’s fight on climate change” An important Massachusetts energy bill has failed, but the problems it tried to address have not gone away, and the clock is ticking. Massachusetts climate goals won’t mean much if they aren’t met. [Boston Globe]

World:

¶   The Australia Institute today released findings that solar is both creating jobs and pushing down electricity prices – contrary to the popular belief that renewable energy puts upward pressure on energy prices. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The UK government’s electricity market reform proposals, designed to help encourage investment in low carbon energy, was passed into law. The Department of Energy and Climate Change claims the new law will attract £100 billion of new infrastructure investment. [Solar Power Portal]

¶   Coffs Harbour residents have been named as leading Australia in using solar energy to power their homes. The Climate Council has announced that a staggering 39% of all Coffs Harbour households or businesses have installed rooftop solar PV systems. [Coffs Coast Advocate]

¶   Mainstream Renewable Power is to test a large-scale power storage system at an Irish wind farm from September. The aim is to assess the commercial viability of installing 2 MW of storage at an operational 10 MW wind site in the current Single Electricity Market. [reNews]

¶   Following a competitive tendering process, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator has selected technologies from five separate providers, which it now plans to test for their contribution to grid stability. [PV-Tech Storage]

¶   Bulgaria’s outgoing government greenlighted on Thursday a last-minute deal with Toshiba’s US nuclear engineering unit Westinghouse to build a new reactor at the country’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant. [Focus News]

US:

¶   Central Hudson Gas & Electric filed a $46 million rate case, “Value for our Valley,”  which includes new distribution automation systems, community solar, expanded demand response, and a microgrid-as-a-service program, with the New York Public Service Commission. [Energy Collective]

¶   New Jersey’s recently created Energy Resilience Bank, designed to address a repeat of the devastating impacts of SuperStorm Sandy, will provide $200 million for municipalities to finance clean resilient power solutions. [Energy Collective]

¶   Southern California Edison has signed contracts with solar and geothermal energy producers representing more than 1,500 MW. More than 1,300 MW of solar power will come from providers in California and Nevada and 225 MW from geothermal in Northern California. [Los Angeles Business Journal]

¶   The USDA today released a Biogas Opportunities Roadmap outlining voluntary strategies the U.S. livestock industry can use to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. [Agri-Pulse]

¶   The US Energy Information Agency announced that non-hydro renewable had gone eight months where it outproduced hydroelectric dams. The figures include projects in excess of 1 MW of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste. [Ars Technica]

¶   California Governor Jerry Brown is set to make a trade mission to Mexico accompanied by some 90 delegates from the state’s public and private sectors. The mission will focus on issues relating to climate change, environmental protection, the economy, and renewable energy. [International Business Times]

¶   The planned 1300 MW Eagle Mountain pumped storage project in California has received a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, paving the way for the project to go ahead. The pits at the mine will be modified to become water storage reservoirs. [International Water Power and Dam Construction]


August 1 Energy News

August 1, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “No Need for Indian Point” Independent expert analysis commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council provides a road map for replacing the aging and risky nuclear facility with renewable power — like wind and solar — and increased energy efficiency. [New York Times]

Noteworthy:

¶   A retired coal miner traveled 1,300 miles from his home in Kentucky to Denver to tell the EPA about the black lung disease he suffers from and how the pollution from coal plants is adversely affecting public health. His plea: “We’re dying, literally dying for you to help us.” [ThinkProgress]

World:

¶   Electricity from renewable sources in the UK increased 30% over 2013 to account for 14.9% of total generation. Installed onshore wind capacity rose 27% and there was a 59% increase in solar photovoltaic capacity. [Business Green]

¶   The New Zealand government is stepping up its funding to help Pacific island nations switch from imported fossil fuels to renewable energy, the foreign minister has announced. New Zealand is now funding 25 renewable energy projects in the Pacific. [GlobalPost]

¶   Wuxi Suntech, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of PV modules, announced that it will provide PV panels for 7.5 MW of off-grid projects to power rural schools and villages in Malaysia. The first phase will power three schools and twenty villages. [Your Renewable News]

¶   New analysis from business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan shows that the global solar power market earned revenues of nearly $60 billion in 2013, and estimates that by 2020 this figure will double to $137.02 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas has received an order of wind turbines totaling 53 megawatts for a wind power project in Sweden, the company announced Thursday. The order entails delivery of 16 wind turbines to Sattravallen. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   Acknowledging the significant risks climate change and environmental health pose to both countries, the United States and India are also furthering cooperation on addressing, mitigating, and adapting to the effects climate change. [US Department of State]

¶   Plans are afoot to set up the country’s largest ultra mega solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa district, a senior official said on Thursday. The plant is designed to produce 700 MW of electricity. [Times of India]

US:

¶   When a Republican congressman who represents an area of central Kansas co-sponsored a bill that would cut demand for biofuels by phasing out a federal renewable energy program, many of his rural constituents took note. Now he is in a tough race with a political novice. [Daily Journal]

¶   Farmers Electric Cooperative, a rural energy company serving 650 members, has constructed Iowa’s largest solar farm — an expanse of 2,900 panels spanning 4½ acres along a gravel road in southwest Johnson County. [Iowa City Press Citizen]

¶   In Tiffin, Ohio, the Sisters of St. Francis built a straw-bale house as a demonstration project to show that by incorporating an alternative design, nontraditional materials and a renewable-energy system, a structure can be comfortable and good for the environment. [Catholic Free Press]

¶   The US nuclear power industry has so far spent about $3 billion taking actions and making plant modifications to address lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Disaster in Japan, a utility official told the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission during a briefing Thursday. [Platts]


July 31 Energy News

July 31, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation” An enduring myth about wind energy and nuclear energy needs to be put to bed. It is that only nuclear can be scaled sufficiently to reduce the impacts of global warming, so wind can be ignored. [CleanTechnica]

¶   “FERC Commissioners: Clean Power Plan Doesn’t Spell Doom for Grid Reliability” All five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree that acting on climate change is critical and none indicates the EPA’s plan to cut carbon emissions would hamper grid operations. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

¶   Energy monolith GE has announced that it will be investing equity in three Atria Power wind projects currently under construction in India — a move that goes a long way towards GE’s commitment to invest $1 billion annually in the global renewable energy industry. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The Australian Renewable Energy Agency today celebrated a major milestone with the installation of the first solar panels at AGL’s large-scale solar plant in Nyngan, New South Wales. The project will have 1.35 million panels and a capacity of 102 MW. [MarineLink]

¶   Small, renewable energy projects in South Africa are starting to supplement the limited coal-fired power available from Eskom and the municipalities. About 1,000 MW is expected to be delivered from renewable sources such as wind and power by the end of this year. [SA Commercial Prop News]

¶   One of Australia’s oldest and most polluting coal-fired power stations, Energy Brix in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, is being shut down, the plant’s owner announced. It is the first coal plant in the state to close in decades. Environmentalists say its power is no longer needed. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Wind power is officially the cheapest source of energy in Denmark, according to the nation’s government—and by 2016, it claims the electricity whipped up by its newest turbines will be half the price of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. [Motherboard]

¶   An independent judicial panel of citizens has concluded that three former TEPCO executives should face criminal charges in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the latest development in the search for justice following the accident. [Wall Street Journal]

US:

¶   SunPower Corp. today announced it has started construction on the 135-MW Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, California. After completion, which is scheduled for late 2015, the Quinto project is expected to generate enough electricity for 40,000 homes. [AZoBuild]

¶   NextEra Energy Resources has announced plans to begin construction on a wind farm in northeast Hockley County, Texas. The plan is set to have 47 wind turbines on the site by 2016, producing 80 MW. The name of the farm will be Red Raider Wind. [LubbockOnline.com]

¶   Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 29 told a congressional committee that they are working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make sure the coal-averse Clean Power Plan doesn’t destabilize the grid. [PennEnergy]

¶   Flexible alternating current transmission systems have been implemented in electric grids since the 1920s, but growing renewable energy deployment has increased their demand. According to Navigant Research, the market for them to 2022 will be $42 billion. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Exelon is getting into the fuel cell business with a commitment to finance projects at 75 commercial facilities throughout the US. The company will provide equity financing for California-based Bloom Energy, which uses fuel cells to produce electricity from natural gas. [Businessweek]


July 30 Energy News

July 30, 2014

World:

¶   The longer the world waits to act on climate change, the more costly it will be to rein in the environmental impacts of releasing heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, according to a White House report on climate change. [Christian Science Monitor]

¶   An international arbitration court ruled on Monday that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos, the former oil giant whose CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky fell foul of the Kremlin. [Reuters]

¶   France’s planned energy law will mobilize about €10 billion ($13.4 billion) in tax credits and low-interest loans to spur energy efficiency and renewable generation, according to Environment Minister Segolene Royal. [Businessweek]

¶   Since 2010, 35 solar farms, totaling approximately 257 MW, have been constructed under the project and connected to the utility grid in Northeastern Thailand. A ceremony held earlier this month in Surin Province commemorated the launch of the installations. [Today's Energy Solutions]

¶   In China, M&G Chemicals announced a joint venture with Anhui Guozhen CO, using PROESA technology licensed by Beta Renewables to convert 970,000-1,300,000 metric tons per year of agricultural residues into cellulosic ethanol, glycols and by-products such as lignin. [Biobased Digest]

¶   Onshore wind turbines market in Germany posted strong growth in the first half of 2014 with some 1,723 MW generation capacity having been installed as against 1,038 MW in the corresponding period last year, a growth of 66%. [Big News Network.com]

¶   PV installations in Germany generated significantly higher profits than onshore installations despite producing less electricity overall, according to a new study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. [pv magazine]

¶   On the second anniversary of a scheme aimed at boosting Japan’s renewable energy after the Fukushima crisis, its powerful industry ministry is taking steps critics say will choke off solar investment and pave the way for a return to nuclear power. [eco-business.com]

¶   After months of attempting to negotiate with local residents in Fukushima, the Japanese government has abandoned its attempt to purchase land to store nuclear waste from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors. [the Diplomat]

US:

¶   A new report by The Analysis Group, “EPA’s Clean Power Plan: States’ Tools for Reducing Costs and Increasing Benefits to Consumers,” shows that states seem to already possess the tools needed to cut down on carbon emissions, boost the economy and protect consumers financially. [Energy Collective]

¶   Under a system called “community choice,” a town can become the bulk buyer of electricity on behalf of its residential and small business customers. Marin Clean Energy in California has fought for nearly decade to offer service in their commitment to renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶   A total of $250 million in state grant funding is available to fund clean-energy generation projects, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday. Funding will be for wind farms, fuel cells, biomass facilities, renewable biogas and the upgrading of types of hydropower projects. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶   New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a $27 million initiative to build the market for high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating systems in the state. The money is coming from New York’s share of proceeds from the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Press & Sun-Bulletin]

¶   The “new reality” facing electricity consumers and their utility companies is that renewable energy is meeting an increasingly larger share of U.S. energy needs, according to a report Ceres and Clean Edge. That translates into more and better choices and a clean energy future. [Triple Pundit]


July 29 Energy News

July 29, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “The Coal Industry Has Been Fear-Mongering for 40 Years Now” The fossil fuel industry has been promising catastrophe coming with regulation for decades. But if the sky fell because of the EPA’s proposed climate rule like promised, it would the first time the industry guessed it right. [The New Republic]

¶   “Energy diversity critical to U.S. economy” The uncertainty around the future prices of natural gas, oil, coal, uranium, and others means uncertainty regarding the cost to produce electricity. A diversified portfolio is the most cost-effective tool available … [Fierce Energy]

World:

¶   Gamesa has added two new Brazilian wind projects worth 214 MW to its order pipeline. According to the website, the Spanish wind manufacturer will supply 166 MW to Companhia de Energias Renováveis plus 48 MW to Eletrobras subsidiary Eletrosul. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Kyocera and partner SPCG have achieved full commercial operations at a solar cluster totalling 257 MW in Thailand. The string of 35 plants has been under development in Surin Province since 2010 and together constitute one of the largest PV projects in south-east Asia. [reNews]

¶   Babcock and Wilcox Company announced that B&W Vølund, a subsidiary of B&W Power Generation Group, was awarded a contract exceeding $80 million to build a 280 MWth biomass boiler system for the Skærbækværket district heating and power plant. [BioEnergy News]

¶   NextEra Energy Canada has received renewable energy approval for the 102 MW Goshen wind project to be constructed adjacent to Lake Huron in Ontario.  Goshen will employ 62 1.6 MW units and one 1.56 MW machine on 80-meter towers. [reNews]

¶   Atomic power’s share of global electricity supply is at the lowest level since the 1980s and may fall further without major new plant construction, according to a draft of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶   The share of renewables in Germany’s gross electricity consumption surged to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014, up from 24.6% in the year-earlier period, according to preliminary figures from the federation of energy and water industries BDEW. [Recharge]

US:

¶   The American Wind Energy Association has just come out with some facts and figures about the so-called hidden cost of wind power. According to AWEA’s calculations the “hidden cost” for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Small natural gas leaks from old buried pipes may be more common than previously thought, according to the preliminary findings of a new methane mapping project being carried out by Environmental Defense Fund and Google Earth. [Energy Collective]

¶   Arizona Public Service Co. is looking to enter the rooftop residential solar market with a plan to install and operate panels on as many as 3,000 Phoenix-area homes. It’s a departure for the Arizona’s largest utility, which until this point has only built large utility-scale projects. [Phoenix Business Journal]

¶   Two Wisconsin utility companies — once among the early leaders in promoting solar power — now say the solar industry has grown so much it is hurting their business and their customers. They are asking state regulators for rate changes that they call a matter of fair treatment. [RenewablesBiz]

¶   Faced with increasing interest in renewable energy generation, the Chicopee, Massachusetts Planning Board and Planning Department is developing guidelines for generating power from sun or wind. The plan allows home and business solar installations without special permits. [MassLive.com]

¶   Oahu could become the first place in the United States to connect the energy harvested from ocean waves to a power grid. Northwest Energy Innovations, a private company, will start testing a prototype in September, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. [The Tribune]

¶   Green Mountain Power is expanding its groundbreaking heat pump pilot program to Montpelier as part of the city’s major initiative focused on making Montpelier the first net zero capital city in the country. [vtdigger.org]


July 28 Energy News

July 28, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Boom-or-Doom Riddle for Nuclear Industry” The nuclear industry paints a rosy picture of its future. Detractors of the industry say that industry projections are a pipe dream and that nuclear power will not expand at that pace, if at all, in the face of solar and wind power growth. [Truthdig]

Science and Technology:

¶   A new study finds that when climate models factor in the temporary warming and cooling impact of El Niño and La Niña, they accurately predict recent global warming. It agrees with other studies leading one climatologist to say, “Global temperatures look set to rise rapidly.” [Energy Collective]

¶   With an EPA-rated range of 265 miles per charge, the Tesla Model S is the longest-range electric car you can buy today. In an interview with AutoExpress, though, Elon Musk revealed that a 500-mile battery will be possible “soon” … but at an exceedingly high cost. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Plans to replace up to 70% of the diesel-powered electricity generation on Australia’s Lord Howe Island with hybrid renewables generating capacity and storage have received financial backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. [CleanTechnica]

¶   GE Energy Financial Services, part of the GE conglomerate, has undertaken investments in three wind energy projects in India, the company said on Monday. These wind farms, being constructed by Atria Power, have a combined capacity of 126 MW. [NDTV]

¶   Soon, all of Germany’s coal-fired power plants will be dependent on imports, with the country expected to halt coal mining in 2018 when government subsidies end. US exports of power plant-grade coal to Germany have more than doubled since 2008. [Times Colonist]

¶   Solar Frontier has signed an agreement with the town of Hiraizumi to build a 13 MW CIS megasolar power plant. To be located on 30 hectares of land designated for commercial use, the utility-scale power plant has received support of local residents. [Energy Business Review]

¶   An Australian-made energy storage system is now on site in Western Sydney. Built for Transgrid by Magellan Power, the system has 400-kWh lithium polymer (LiMnNiCoO2) batteries and an advance bi-directional inverter. [Energy Matters]

US:

¶   Con Ed filed a proposal for a program it hopes can defer costs to build a $1 billion substation. Instead, $200 million would go to novel customer-side load management programs, and $300 million toward more traditional utility investments to reduce load from specific areas by 2018. [Energy Collective]

¶   Amazon Web Services and Greenpeace have become embroiled in another slanging match over the cloud provider’s green credentials, due its supposed lack of energy-efficient data centres to power its services. [V3.co.uk]

¶   The Army has awarded the final round of solar technology contracts that will support a $7 billion renewable and alternative energy power production for Department of Defense installations Multiple Award Task Order Contract. [AZoCleantech]

¶   Clarkson University, partnering with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, National Grid and others, is designing a grid that will provide renewable and conventional electricity to many entities in the village of Potsdam, New York. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]

¶   Dominion North Carolina Power dedicated the company’s first renewable power grid at Kitty Hawk. The project will be used to reduce the amount of power the Kitty Hawk regional office pulls from the grid. It has four wind turbines for 13 kW and 6 kW of solar PVs. [The Outer Banks Voice]

¶   A Texas Empowerment report released by Choose Energy shows that about one in three Texans choose renewably sourced energy options. That’s 100% more than any other state, according to Levente McCrary, spokeswoman for Choose Energy. [Tyler Morning Telegraph]


July 27 Energy News

July 27, 2014

Economy and Finance:

¶   In the transition towards a post-carbon future, infrastructure built today for fossil fuels could easily become stranded assets which burden investors and taxpayers with sunk costs. The future looks bleak for coal, and we should not invest in it. [Resilience]

World:

¶   Kudos Energy, a new Australian start-up solar company, believes that the Australian market for rooftop solar leasing for the residential and commercial sectors could reach $100 billion in the next decade. Kudos is the brainchild of two leading private equity investors. [CleanTechnica]

¶   According to the Chilean specialized media ‘Electricidad,’ Abengoa, the world leader in the Concentrated Solar Power market, is planning to invest up to $10 billion in renewable energy infrastructures in Chile. [CSP World]

¶   Scottish businesses have invested almost £50 million in onsite power stations in recent years because of concerns over cost and security of supply. There are now 40 commercial-scale renewable energy projects including wind turbines, solar PVs and anaerobic digestion plants. [Scotsman]

¶   Secretaries of the ministries concerned will brief Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi once a month on key infrastructure projects. This decision was taken at a meeting after the secretary of the Planning Commission presented India’s infrastructure targets and achievements. [Business Standard]

¶   From an initial targeted development of 23 MW, Filipino firm Eastern Renewables has been moving its goal higher to accomplish an expansion of up to 100 MW for biomass projects. Eastern Renewables is the arm for renewable energy ventures for Eastern Petroleum Corporation. [Manila Bulletin]

¶   Over £45 million has been invested in commercial-scale renewable energy projects across the UK county of Hampshire. Farmers, businesses, communities and public sector organisations in the county have taken advantage of renewable energy projects, with 74 now operating. [Daily Echo]

US:

¶   The old US microgrid model, built for power security and based on fossil fuels, is evolving. Microgrid development is expected to grow 70 to 80% in the next three years, with many hew projects at private commercial operations and including solar PV, battery storage and biogas. [Energy Collective]

¶   With a new battery pack built in partnership with LG Chem, it seems like GM plans to usurp Tesla’s plans to deliver a long-range and affordably priced EV to the masses. The rumors of a 200-mile GM-branded EV have been around for a while, and now the car may appear soon. [CleanTechnica]

¶   In the past few years a tremendous technological transformation has occurred. The barriers for electric companies to entertain unprecedented growth potential by devouring a large piece of the oil companies’ share of the US energy market for transportation is now clearly in reach. [Energy Collective]

¶   Ohio green energy advocates want to ensure the state’s new two-year freeze on renewable energy mandates for utilities becomes just that — a timeout from requirements set forth under a 2008 law and not a backdoor strategy to repeal it after this fall’s gubernatorial election. [Toledo Blade]

¶   A new project would transform 25 acres of brownfield in Lackawanna, New York into a 4 MW solar farm with 13,000 solar panels. The project would be near a related wind project with its 14 wind turbines on the Hamburg and Lackawanna waterfront. [Buffalo News]

¶   Renewable-energy advocates are rallying against a proposed utility fee for Utah residents who have solar panels and wind turbines, saying it could hinder further development of renewable energy. [Washington Times]

¶   This week a committee at the National Academy of Sciences released a report entitled, “Lessons Learned From the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of US Nuclear Plants.” Those lessons are summarized as “Safety first, complacency never, shift to renewables.” [allvoices]


July 26 Energy News

July 26, 2014

World:

¶   Russia is a major exporter of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Sales of these fuels accounted for 68% of Russia’s total export revenues in 2013, based on data from Russia’s Federal Customs Service. [Energy Collective]

¶   A consortium of Australian energy groups look to create a “mini electricity” system relying on local renewable energy production and storage. The search has begun for a suitable town to become Australia’s first “zero net energy town,” using renewables, storage and a local mini-grid. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The signals coming from Australia’s Federal Government say it is preparing to cut the renewable energy target back. But Melbourne and Sydney have set ambitious targets to slash carbon emissions and are determined to make it happen, whatever direction Canberra takes. [ABC Online]

¶   A project to build 65 MW of solar power generation in Uruguay has successfully reached financial close. The Spanish, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, has signed for $70 million in funds from Norway’s DNB Group. Spanish bank, Santander is also financing $24 million. [PV-Tech]

¶   Construction is starting at the Westermeerwind nearshore wind farm in the Netherlands after the developer reached financial close on the project. It will feature 48 3-MW turbines between 500 metres and 1100 metres from the dikes of the Noordoostpolder. [reNews]

¶   Restarts of reactors at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture will be delayed until at least next year because the site does not meet safety standards. The emergency headquarters building at the facility needs to be completely replaced. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶   Seneca Mountain Wind issued a statement saying it has ceased development its project in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. It has withdrawn a request to connect the project to the New England power grid and it has terminated all its leases it had to build the turbines. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]

¶   A lobbyist for Exelon Corporation recently bragged about killing the wind industry and claimed they would kill the solar industry next. Now the company favors extension of a net metering cap in Massachusetts, though in a watered-down form. It remains to be seen why. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Georgia Power will add 34 MW of solar PVs via three large projects following an approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission in December. In addition, they will add an additional 7.2 MW at smaller sites through a small- and medium-sized initiative program. [Macon Telegraph]

¶   Two months after an Angelina County judge decided to allow the Aspen Power’s trustee to recommence operations at the biomass facility, wood chip conveyor belts were up and running. Traffic in and out of the facility signaled a positive movement for the restart of the facility. [KTRE]

¶   Researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Minnesota are working together on an initiative to lower energy consumption and introduce renewable energy generation to crop, dairy, and swine production systems. [Morris Sun Tribune]

¶   The Baltimore Interfaith Solar Co-op allows members to purchase home solar systems from an installer together, negotiating a group rate. Despite its title, the Baltimore co-op is open to all regardless of church membership or religious affiliation. [Baltimore Sun]

¶   California could meet its energy needs with renewables alone, according to Stanford University researchers. The authors of a recent study say a transition scenario is economically as well as technically feasible. [Deutsche Welle]

¶   Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning has said he hopes to announce plans to expand the utility’s fleet of power reactors by the end of the year. The company is studying six existing plants and new sites for potential reactor construction. [Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Portal]


July 25 Energy News

July 25, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   A new report has found that the number of incidents of wind turbines catching fire is a sizeable issue for the wind industry, and a problem that is not being accurately reported on, with an estimated ten times more fires occurring than are actually being reported. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶   Global prospects for wind power are rising despite disappointing 2013 numbers, say analysts at Navigant Research. Wind power now supplies about 3% of the world’s electricity, but Navigant expects wind power to deliver 7.3% of global electricity by 2018. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Bradford Council has become the first local authority in the UK to back plans for its schools to run on solar power, as it emerged that nationally just five schools have installed renewables that qualify for feed-in tariff incentives in the past year. [Business Green]

¶   Alice Springs can expect 4% of its electricity supply to come from solar by the end of 2015. Already Australia’s largest tracking solar farm, the 3.1 MW expansion of Uterne will bring its total capacity to 4.1 MW. [ABC Online]

¶   Plans for a series of new UK offshore wind farms have been thrown into doubt after the Government disclosed it would only award enough subsidies this autumn to fund one such project. Wind farm developers for other projects will be forced to wait to find out about funds. [Telegraph.co.uk]

¶   Ventinveste, a consortium of some of Portugal’s top energy and engineering companies, and Ferrostaal GmbH, a worldwide project developer, will build four wind farms in the country, in a €220 million investment that will strengthen the country’s renewable energy cluster. [AltEnergyMag]

¶    Research sponsored by business groups and the mining industry shows Australia’s 20% renewable energy target (RET) will cost the economy $29 billion and 5000 jobs by 2020. This is in direct conflict with other recent reports finding consumers would be better off with the RET. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   European power sector stakeholders are fully aware that a substantial transition is taking place there. A poll taken during POWER-GEN Europe revealed that half of the delegates present expected that the European market for large power plants will never return. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]

¶   According to a new report by analyst Frost & Sullivan published this week, global solar power market revenues are set to more than double to $137 billion by 2020, up from just under $60 billion in 2013. [Business Green]

¶   Kudankulam nuclear power project’s second 1,000 MW unit is expected to be commissioned shortly, the government said on Thursday. The power project, located in Tamil Nadu, has two units of 1,000 MW generation capacity each. [The Hindu]

US:

¶   The National Hockey League is the first A-list pro sports league to issue a Sustainability Report. In its report, the NHL took on climate change deniers and set a new high bar for all the other pro sports leagues in the US. [CleanTechnica]

¶   The US Energy Department and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have awarded funding totalling $1.35 million to four distributed wind companies to help drive down the cost of small- and medium-sized wind energy systems. [reNews]

¶   More than three years after the town of Edgartown, Massachusetts made a bet on green energy, the first municipal solar sites on Martha’s Vineyard are now feeding power back into the grid. But getting to this point has been anything but easy. [Martha's Vineyard Gazette]

¶   New York State has awarded seven research teams $3.3 million to develop smart grid technologies to “enhance grid performance, reduce the risk of power outages, and lessen environmental impacts and energy consumption, all while reducing the cost of power delivery.” [SmartMeters]

¶   A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water, and solar. The plan could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars. [Phys.Org]

¶   Wind power makes up 15% of the energy supply that Xcel Energy provides to customers and can meet the energy needs of about 2.5 million homes. At one point in May 2013, wind accounted for more than 60% of the power on the Colorado system, setting the national record. [Intelligent Utility]


July 24 Energy News

July 24, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   As governments struggle to find practical routes forward with positive outcomes for CO2 mitigation, attention is turning to dealing with other greenhouse gases, particularly methane. A number of methane emission initiatives are now underway or being planned. [Energy Collective]

¶   Planning is underway to replace the aging US power network with a new, “smart” grid, one that’s energy efficient and flexible enough to handle variability in both supply and demand — one comprised of microgrids that can isolate electrical crises before they spread. [KQED QUEST]

¶   Google wants to see the size of inverters shrink – and will award a million dollars to the person or team that comes up with the best design. An inverter can take the DC current produced by the solar modules or wind turbines and converts it to AC. [Energy Matters]

World:

¶   UK renewable-power projects will compete for guaranteed payments totaling more than £200 million ($340 million) a year of as part of its first auction of contracts to spur low-carbon electricity. By 2021 as much as £1 billion a year may be available, it said. [Bloomberg]

¶   Increased focus on curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants is fuelling the global solar power market. Coupled with favourable legislation and the need to enhance energy self-sufficiency and security, these factors will help the solar power market grow rapidly. [Greentech Media]

¶   South Australia’s Tindo Solar is being provided up to $20 million senior debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to locally manufacture, install and own rooftop solar arrays and sell the power to building occupants under a power purchase agreement. [Manufacturers' Monthly]

¶   All of Japan’s nuclear reactors remain shut down as the country heads into the hottest days of summer, when demand for energy is at its highest. Utilities are boosting production at thermal plants and the government is calling on locals and companies to save energy. [Nippon.com]

¶   The Government of Rwanda is preparing to commission in early August 2014 the first utility-scale solar PV power plant in East Africa with a production capacity of 8.5 MW. The project has commenced testing phase of up to 20% of its total capacity. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   First Solar has submitted an application to build a huge solar power plant in Chile. According to a press release from the Centre for Renewable Energy, the plant will be one of the biggest in the world and the largest in Latin America at 370 MW. [ValueWalk]

¶   The European Commission approved the U.K. government’s renewable energy contracts and so-called capacity payments, saying the program that benefits power plants complies with state-aid rules. [Businessweek]

¶   Up to 1.12 trillion becquerels of radioactive cesium are estimated to have been dispersed during work last summer to remove debris at reactor 3 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, TEPCO said Wednesday. [The Japan Times]

US:

¶   According to data from the Solar Industries Association, more than 44% of solar capacity installed in the US during the first quarter was non-utility. Adding that amount to the utility solar power indicates that solar is leading the nation in terms of installations. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Though solar power is still far from surpassing coal as America’s primary energy source, the number of people employed by the solar industry has surpassed the number of coal miners. There are about 142,000 people in the US workforce working at least half time on solar. [CleanTechnica]

¶   On Wednesday, US Senator Chuck Schumer unveiled a proposal for a federal tax credit to reimburse farmers for 30% of the cost of anaerobic digesters. Such systems can be costly, but the electricity from the waste of 400 cows is enough to power 185 average households. [Albany Times Union]

¶   Last year, California created a mandate calling for 1,325 MW of energy storage projects by 2020. As of mid-2014, more than 2,000 MW of energy storage projects have already applied to interconnect with the state’s grid. [Energy Collective]


July 23 Energy News

July 23, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Will the micro-grid put major power companies out of business?” There is now a range of units such as cogeneration plants, which deliver heat and electricity, wind turbines and solar PVs, owned by a whole raft of municipalities, households and businesses. [The Guardian]

Science and Technology:

¶   A new material developed at MIT is able to convert 85% of incoming solar energy into steam — a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. Very little heat is lost in the process, and it can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. [Energy Collective]

World:

¶   Germany and the United Kingdom have 18 of the 30 most polluting energy plants in the European Union, according to a study funded by the European Union. All of the EU’s most polluting plants are coal-fired. [EurActiv]

¶   Toyota will have at least three production fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle models on sale within ten years. That’s the official word from the company’s US National Manager Advanced Technology Vehicles, Craig Scott. [Motoring]

¶   Australia’s household solar revolution has caught the government-owned electricity sector by surprise. More than one million Australians have already installed solar panels on their rooftops, which has caused demand for electricity from the grid to plummet. [Huffington Post]

¶   Clean energy investment continued to grow in the second quarter. Investment was up 9% at $63.6 billion during the April-June period, with China the largest investor followed by the US, according to the latest quarterly update from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Business Spectator]

¶   Indian Railways is all set to give a push to its plans to generate renewable energy. The national transporter is planning to generate 20% of its total energy requirement from solar and wind energy over the next couple of years. [Financial Express]

¶   The UK government will retain its 2023-27 target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, resisting reported pressure to water it down. Current estimates are that UK and EU levels of ambition on carbon-cutting “are likely to be extremely close”. [Recharge]

¶   Located in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, Zernez has set the goal of using only renewable sources to meet its energy requirements for buildings in the municipality, thus reducing CO2 emissions to zero. [Nanowerk]

¶   Top officials at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, charged with the selection and construction of the nuclear waste facilities, were replaced last month because of lack of progress and in view of the planned restart of nuclear power plant operations. [The Japan News]

US:

¶   California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there. [Resilience]

¶   Consumers Energy is choosing four Michigan farms to produce renewable energy with anaerobic digesters. The farms could generate electricity under long-term contracts that total 2.6 MW, enough to power about 2,800 homes. [Your Renewable News]

¶   The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction for the 250-MW Beacon Solar Power Project. This new solar array is an important component of LADWP’s complete power supply transformation. [Sierra Wave]


July 22 Energy News

July 22, 2014

Science and Technology:

¶   Just how fast the California’s climate is changing became apparent Monday when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released figures showing the first six months of this year were the hottest the state has ever recorded. [Willits News]

¶   The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That’s after the world broke a record in May. NOAA’s climate monitoring chief said both the June and May records were driven by unusually hot oceans, especially the Pacific and Indian oceans. [Lexington Herald Leader]

World:

¶   Research from the Energy Economics and Management Group in the School of Economics shows that wind energy – particularly in South Australia and Victoria – has a big impact on wholesale prices, even at peak demand time when the wind is least powerful. [CleanTechnica]

¶   New South Wales aims to be “Australia’s answer to California”, accelerating the use of renewable energy and finding new ways to curb waste, in a push that puts it at odds with Coalition counterparts in other states and at the federal level. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   For the first six months of 2014, China’s power consumption has recorded an increase of 5.3%. For the same period, coal used in generation declined year-over-year by three grams per kWh to an average of 317 grams per kWh of electricity produced. [Market Realist]

¶   EDF en Canada has reached agreement with three aboriginal groups on the 350 MW Rivière-du-Moulin wind project in the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve in Quebec. The project is in a territory of interest for the Innu First Nations. [reNews]

¶   Iberdrola Ingeniería and Gamesa have entered into an agreement with Honduras-based Grupo Terra to build a turnkey project to cost $83.8 million. The new 50 MW wind farm will supply the electricity needs of 100,000 homes. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶   The Australian Federal Parliament voted to scrap the country’s carbon price last week, causing concerns as to the future of PV in the country. However, the Australian Solar Council says that the move won’t halt the growth of solar. [pv magazine]

US:

¶   US agriculture could provide up to 155 million tonnes of crop residues and 60 million tonnes of manure for the generation of clean fuels and electricity in 2030, according to new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. [BioEnergy News]

¶   According to the latest  Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, solar and wind energy constituted more than half of the new generating capacity in the country for the first half of 2014. [AlterNet]

¶   While the politics of fracking has taken hold of election-year energy discussions in Colorado, the wind power industry is quietly surging. On Friday Vesta Wind Systems announced it was hiring 800 new workers, after receiving orders for 370 turbines over the last few weeks. [ThinkProgress]

¶   Schneider Electric has partnered with Green Energy Corp to provide standardized microgrid solutions for energy clients. The partnership combines Schneider Electric’s experience in distributed energy resources with Green Energy Corp’s open source Linux tools. [SmartMeters]

¶   New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation advocating shutting down the Indian Point nuclear plant as an alternative to proposed engineering changes to the facility that have largely been rejected by Entergy, the plant’s operator. [Wall Street Journal]


July 21 Energy News

July 21, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Carbon price gone: Next target is wind and solar” The move by Australia to become the first country to repeal a carbon price is expected to accelerate a switch back to coal-fired generation from gas – already triggered by the soaring gas price. [RenewEconomy]

World:

¶   Siemens has installed the third and fourth of five offshore transmission platforms scheduled for the North Sea. The four grid connections will have a total transmission capacity of more than 2.9 GW, with enough wind power to supply around three million households. [Your Renewable News]

¶   Sainsbury’s has become the first ever retailer to power one of its own stores by its food waste. A store in Staffordshire sends all of its food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant to generate electricity. It’s the first time a UK retailer has come off the National Grid. [Fresh Business Thinking]

¶   Global investment bank HSBC says the repeal of the carbon price last week leaves Australia’s resource-intensive economy “even more vulnerable” as the world moves in opposite direction. The impact extends to commodities beyond those that are energy-based. [RenewEconomy]

¶   Suntech Power became a world power in solar energy only to default on $541 million in debt in February 2013. Commercially, the firm – now rebadged as Wuxi Suntech Power – is now rising from the ashes. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   Eastern Petroleum Corp. has secured a permit from the Philippine DOE for its initial phase of its biomass power project, its top official said last week. The first phase consists of a 23.5-MW power unit worth close to $100 million. The second phase is similarly sized. [Business Mirror]

¶   Yingli Solar has announced it will supply approximately 12,000 of its PV modules for use in a  rooftop mounted distributed generation project in eastern China. The panels, with a capacity of over 3 MW, will be installed on rooftops of four warehouses. [Energy Matters]

¶   Jean-Claude Juncker, who is to assume the presidency of the European Commission in November, has called for an ambitious target to improve energy savings, calling for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. [Wall Street Journal]

¶   India’s finance minister has decided to double the tax on every metric ton of coal mined or imported in the country. The revenues from the tax will be dedicated to increasing renewable energy capacity in the country. [CleanTechnica]

US:

¶   Residents of New Castle, Colorado may be able to zap some money off their electric bills if they approve a proposed new community solar park on a town-owned, five-acre parcel of property, according to town officials. [Glenwood Springs Post Independent]

¶   Thanks to Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program, the Jewish Community Center in Salt Lake City was able to install two solar arrays totaling over 22 kW. The project is part of a commitment to “repairing the world.” [Salt Lake Tribune]

¶   Innovative Solar Systems, LLC is seeing a trend in the United States where large utility scale solar farms are adding jobs, adding tax base to states and helping the U.S. economy. The company has started working only on solar farms with capacities in excess of 20 MW. [PR Web]


July 20 Energy News

July 20, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “The Politics of Renewable Energy” In 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprised of leading scientists selected by the United Nations, found that there are few, if any, technological restrictions to powering the world through the use of clean energy. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

World:

¶   UK manufacturers are ­increasingly looking to generate their own power to sidestep fears of rising energy prices and threats to supply security, according to the Confederation of British Industry. New power options include wind, solar, and anaerobic digestors. [Express.co.uk]

¶   The UK government is expected to announce a cut in subsidies for small-scale hydro power schemes this week in a move that industry leaders said could kill off further investment in the sector and put Scottish jobs at risk. [Scotsman]

¶   In India, power demand is on an upswing due to lengthening summers, but declining monsoon rainfall has caused apprehension about hydropower output. With coal production dwindling, Coal India Limited has been asked to increase output. [SteelGuru]

¶   Another leak of radioactive water was found in the piping of water used to cool the spent fuel pool in the undamaged No. 5 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a sign of possible deterioration in the system. [Asahi Shimbun]

US:

¶   Over the next 20 years the role that coal plays in providing power to Texas will continue to diminish, perhaps just not as fast as experts had hoped.  Rising prices of natural gas have slowed coal’s reduction putting its numbers at about 23% of the Texas generating capacity. [Energy Collective]

¶   California has announced $26.5 million in grants for microgrid projects that put renewable integration front and center. Applicants should be able to incorporate low-carbon energy resources with energy storage and on-site energy management. [Energy Collective]

¶   No state has done more than California to fight global warming. But a deepening drought could make that battle more difficult and more expensive. The state’s hydroelectric dams are running low after three parched winters. [SFGate]

¶   At least five major transmission projects — some estimated to cost more than $1 billion to build — have been proposed to connect New England to plentiful hydropower sources to the north. The projects, however, are spurring opposition and debate. [Boston Globe]

¶   The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority has filed a petition for a feed-in tariff rate to comply with the Feed-in Tariff Act the VI Senate passed in May. It is just one of the steps that the territory is making to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and diversify energy production. [Virgin Islands Daily News]


July 19 Energy News

July 19, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “24% Renewable Energy Over 27 Years — Is That All?!?” EIA is the experts, but we wonder if they left a couple of things out of the equation when it comes to the competition between natural gas and renewables for a share of the new capacity market from 2015 on out. [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶   There’s a class of fuels that don’t use an intervening biomass to make a fuel. For that reason, they are not really properly called biofuels. Those working with them prefer “solar fuels,” because they use sunlight to capture carbon dioxide and make it into a fuel. [Biobased Digest]

World:

¶   Green bonds have been experiencing quite a boom lately — having seen a huge surge in 2013, they are up to almost $14 billion. Now green bonds look to set to climb to perhaps as high as $40 billion this year, up from under $14 billion in 2013. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will spend 15 billion rupees (US$ 250 million) to increase solar power across the country and also to improve power delivery. Nearly 40% of India’s 1.2 billion people have no access to reliable electricity. [IEEE Spectrum]

¶   WindStream Technologies has installed what it says is the world’s largest wind-solar hybrid array on an office roof in Kingston, Jamaica. The array is expected to generate over 106,000 kWh annually. [Gizmag]

¶   Wind farms in the Australian state of Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible and restrictive nature of new anti-wind laws and permit rules. Companies granted permits before the new laws were passed cannot make simple upgrades to their turbines. [Green Left Weekly]

¶   Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea continues to experience difficulties in operating its 5 MW reactor, which was restarted in summer 2013. A new sand dam to ensure adequate water supply for the secondary cooling system failed in two places. [38 North]

US:

¶   President Obama announced a series of climate change initiatives on Wednesday at the White House aimed at helping cities and towns affected by storm surges, flooding, drought and erosion. [Latin Post]

¶   Waste Management is doubling capacity at its landfill gas power plant south of Arlington, Oregon, generating more energy for homes and businesses 260 miles away in Seattle. With the expansion, capacity will increase from 6.4 MW to 12.8 MW, or enough for 12,500 homes. [The Tribune]

¶   The Boothbay, Maine Planning Board gave a New York City firm conditional approval to build an energy storage facility. The board voted 5-0 approving Convergent Energy + Power’s application  to construct a valve-regulated lead acid battery storage facility. [Boothbay Register]

¶   The City of Rifle, Colorado produced enough power through its seven solar arrays to reach a net zero status for its electricity needs, including the City Hall, the police station, parks maintenance facility, public works, wastewater treatment, and other city buildings. [Glenwood Springs Post Independent]

¶   Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to eliminate coal as a source of energy production in the state. He wants the conversion of coal plants to natural gas to continue, along with boosting investment in renewable energy sources. [Rick Kupchella's BringMeTheNews]


July 18 Energy News

July 18, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Decarbonizing the world energy system without nuclear” In 2013, where nuclear power supplied 11% of the world’s electricity, renewables about twice as much. And in 2013 renewables had a 72% share of new electricity generating capacity. [The Ecologist]

World:

¶   Onshore wind energy is the cheapest available form of new power generation in Denmark. Its cost, 5.4¢ (US) per kWh is about half that of offshore wind, new centralised coal, new centralized natural gas, and decentralised combined heat and power. [reNews]

¶   The UK government approved plans for a wind farm off the coast of Sussex. E.ON’s Rampion offshore wind farm, which would generate enough electricity to power approximately 450,000 homes, is expected to bring more than £2 billion of investment to the UK’s economy. [Insider Media]

¶   The price for thermal coal has plunged more than 10% in the last two months as the presumed major customers for Australian fossil fuels – China and India – make it clear that renewable energy is offering a competitive alternative to coal and gas. [RenewEconomy]

¶   The Asian Development Bank says there has been a spike in the need for investment in renewable energy in the Pacific as the cost of diesel becomes unaffordable and a structural shift to hydro, wind and solar power makes both economic and environmental sense. [Radio New Zealand]

¶   Among the latest insurance news for Europe’s renewable energy industry are plans being developed by insurers to provide protection to investors backing solar and wind power projects against the removal of vital federal subsidies. [Live Insurance News]

¶   Almost £8 billion was invested in renewable energy in the UK last year, according to a report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The report showed renewables now produce 15% of the country’s electricity. [The Guardian]

¶   Turkey’s electricity consumption scored an all time record last week, highlighting the country’s thirst for new power capacity. Yet renewable power development plods slowly onwards. [pv magazine]

¶   Germany comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China, and France, according to the 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The US ranks 13th out of 16 countries ranked. [InvestorIdeas.com]

¶   According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, global smart grid market was valued at $37.7 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $118.1 billion in 2019, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 18.2% from 2013 to 2019. [PR Newswire UK]

US:

¶   The US Department of Interior will offer leases to companies that want to build wind turbines off parts of the coast of New Jersey, along blocks of ocean floor starting about seven miles off Long Beach Island, Atlantic City and Cape May County. [Cherry Hill Courier Post]

¶   The city of Boulder, Colorado has filed to condemn portions of the electric system owned by Xcel Energy through eminent domain. Boulder deems parts of the Xcel’s system as necessary to create a local electric utility that would serve customers within city limits. [Boulder County Business Report]

¶   If renewable energy sources produced a higher percentage of energy in West Virginia, new jobs would be created, and health conditions, particularly in poor and black neighborhoods, would improve, according to a new report from the state chapter of the NAACP. [Charleston Gazette]


July 17 Energy News

July 17, 2014

Australian Carbon Tax Repeal:

¶   The Australian Senate voted on Thursday to scrap the country’s carbon tax and plans for emissions trading, a major victory for conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott that leaves uncertainty about how the country will meet its carbon reduction goals. [Gulf Times]

¶   Opinion: “‘A Perfect Storm of Stupidity': Scientists React To News The Carbon Tax Is Gone” The Abbott Government delivered on its election promise to repeal the carbon tax today, 10 months after taking office. [Business Insider Australia]

¶   Opinion: “Carbon repeal: condemning our children for cheap political points” Australia has returned to its old role opposing serious action on climate change, having replaced functional, effective and low-impact carbon pricing with a witless policy of handouts to corporate mates. [Crikey]

¶   John Rice, vice-chairman of US multinational GE, one of Australia’s largest foreign investors, says its $3.5 billion pipeline of investment in green energy in this country is at risk because of possible changes to the renewable energy target. [The Australian]

¶   The Tasmanian state government has hailed the repeal of the carbon tax as a win for consumers, and the repeal was immediately greeted with optimism by Acting Premier Jeremy Rockliff. But the Opposition says it will leave a huge black hole in the state’s budget. [Yahoo!7 News]

¶   Australia cut carbon dioxide emissions from its electricity sector by as much as 17 million tonnes because of the carbon price and would have curbed more had industry expected the price to be permanent, according to an Australian National University study. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   Global clean energy investment surged to $63.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 33% compared to the first quarter and 9% compared to Q2 2013. But in Australia, utility-scale renewable energy project investment has largely dried up over policy uncertainty. [The Australian]

World:

¶   Europe will invest around $1 trillion into growing its renewable energy capacity by the year 2030, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Of this, $339 billion is expected to be into rooftop solar PV, and $250 billion into onshore wind energy. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Rural communities in Rwanda’s Eastern Province are quickly embracing use of biogas as a way of cutting the cost of fuel for cooking and lighting. The province, with the biggest cattle population in the country, has seen a number of households install biogas digesters. [AllAfrica.com]

¶   The government of Nepal has provided a ‘net metering’ system to allow a ratepayer to bank energy generated from the installation of rooftop solar PV system for later use or share for credits from Nepal Electricity Authority. [E Kantipur]

¶   EDF EN Canada Inc., a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, and Enbridge Inc. dedicated the 300 MW Blackspring Ridge Wind Project today. Located in Vulcan County, Alberta, the project is the largest investment in wind energy in Western Canada. [AltEnergyMag]

¶   A new report from the European Wind Energy Association has revealed a total of 4.9 GW of new offshore wind power currently under construction in Europe consisting of 16 new commercial wind farms. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

US:

¶   Following two record-setting months in May and June of this year, total American EV sales have surged past 222,000 units since late 2010, and while the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt remain the dominant players, there are many more options now. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Minnesota Power has settled with the EPA over emissions at coal-fired power plants. In addition to a $1.4 million civil penalty, the company will invest in renewable energy, including a 1-MW solar installation. The agreement includes 200 MW of wind energy. [Northland's NewsCenter]

¶   The U.S. will build 351,000 MW of new electric generation capacity by 2040, according to an  Energy Department forecast. The agency projects new capacity over the next three decades will be 73% natural gas, 24% renewable and 3% nuclear. [FuelFix]


July 16 Energy News

July 16, 2014

World:

¶   A national fleet of six tidal lagoon power plants could contribute £3.1 billion a year to the UK’s gross domestic product, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research examining Tidal Lagoon Power’s plans to build six projects. [reNews]

¶   Scatec Solar has completed a 40 MW solar plant in South Africa. Annual production will be around 94 million kWh, enough to cover the electricity demand of about 20 000 South African households. [Renewable Energy Focus]

¶   Japanese authorities have declared that two nuclear reactors at Sendai meet new standards put in place after the 2011 Fukushima disaster and are safe enough to be restarted, paving the way for the revival of the country’s atomic energy industry. [Washington Post]

¶   Spanish manufacturer Gamesa has signed deals to supply 100 MW in Mexico and 190 MW in the United States. The US contract was agreed with EDP Renováveis and covers 95 G114 2 MW turbines at the Waverly wind farm in Coffey County, Kansas. [reNews]

¶   Shinsei Bank Ltd, a lender for Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s clean-energy projects in Japan, plans to provide as much as $2 billion in loans for renewable developments. Shinsei is among lenders increasing financing for clean-energy projects in Japan. [eco-business.com]

¶   2040-50 may finally be the decade when the installed renewable energy capacity in India would overtake the coal-based installed capacity, if the Integrated Plan for Desert Power Development is fully realized. The plan is called ambitious. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Australia’s investment in large-scale renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fueled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Sydney Morning Herald]

¶   Project developers have been invited to apply for qualification to the Ontario Power Authority’s next Large Renewable Procurement round, which will see as much as 440 MW of wind and solar capacity allocated. [Recharge]

¶   Nigeria’s Minister of Power says plans are in place for solar technology solution to replace the generators run with diesel as primary source of energy for the rural electrification projects across the country. [WorldStage]

¶   UK-wide greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 12% between 2007 and 2012, according to a study by the Committee on Climate Change. The report says the first carbon budget was met “through a combination of the impact of the recession and low-carbon policies.” [reNews]

US:

¶   In Massachusetts, new legislation would accomplish the stated objectives of the Patrick Administration, including a deployment target of 1,600 MW of solar PV (four times current levels) by 2020, while addressing core concerns of the utilities. [Energy Collective]

¶   Microsoft has signed its biggest renewable energy agreement, committing to buy the output of a 175 MW wind farm in Illinois. The 20 year deal commits Microsoft to buying the output of the 175 MW Pilot Hill wind project. [TechWeekEurope UK]

¶   Northern Power Systems, a next-generation renewable energy technology company based in Vermont, has launched a new 60 kW permanent magnet/direct drive wind turbine. The unit was specifically engineered for the Italian and other low wind regime markets. [Stockhouse]

¶   Rather than simply working against the (likely inevitable) spread of distributed generation, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power has been transforming itself into a company with a business model that puts renewable energy and distributed generation at its core. [CleanTechnica]

¶   Just when Cape Wind officials thought it was safe to go back in the water, the GOP-controlled House approved an energy and water appropriations bill that included a measure to bar a $150 million federal loan guarantee for the Nantucket Sound offshore wind farm. [RenewablesBiz]


July 15 Energy News

July 15, 2014

Opinion:

¶   “Orwellian Newspeak and the oil industry’s fake abundance story” The oil industry’s fake abundance story is so full of verbal legerdemain that it has become a sort of lexicon of Newspeak for oil. [Resilience]

¶   “Electric Cars Will Change the Way You Power Your Home” When you put a solar panel on your roof, your home becomes a mini-power plant. When you buy an electric vehicle, you suddenly control an automobile-shaped energy-storage device. [TIME]

¶   “Wisconsin reactor’s demise hits local economy” The legacy of the 2013 shutdown of the Kewaunee Power Station, which generated nuclear energy for 39 years along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, is lost jobs, hard-hit economy, and nuclear waste. [Finance and Commerce]

World:

¶   Global clean energy investment surged to $63.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 33% compared to the first quarter and 9% compared to Q2 2013, according to the latest authoritative figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [Commodities Now]

¶   General Electric will supply some 94 MW of wind turbines to the Dunmaglass Wind Farm in Scotland. This capacity will come from 33 wind turbines that will be delivered to SSE Renewables in the coming months. [Hydrogen Fuel News]

¶   Like many other small island nations, Barbados has to ship in all of the oil that it uses to produce electricity—making power over four times more costly than it is in the fuel-rich US. That high price has proven to be a boon for Barbados’ fledgling solar industry. [New America Media]

¶   The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has awarded funding of $17.3 million (US) to a hybrid energy project in South Australia. The system will integrate 2 MW of PV and 3 MW of wind with the town’s pre-existing diesel power station of 3.9 MW. [PV-Tech]

¶   The UK is in danger of missing its post-2020 climate change goals unless it strengthens low carbon policy, according to the Committee on Climate Change. Instead of reducing carbon emissions by 31% from 2013 to 2025, the UK will achieve reductions of 21 to 23%. [Business Green]

¶   The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has commissioned what it claims is the Germany’s largest solar power storage park. The 1-MW facility is being developed by the KIT together with its Solarwatt and Kostal Solar Electric partners. [Daily Fusion]

US:

¶   California-based Siva Power has an ambitious cost roadmap for its thin-film solar modules. Siva says its first 300-MW production line will manufacture modules at 40¢ per watt, but believes it can get all-in costs down to 28¢ per watt after another two years of operation. [Energy Collective]

¶   Minnesota Power has taken delivery of equipment for Bison 4, a 205–MW addition to a wind farm. Once operational, Bison 4 will push Minnesota Power past the 25% renewable energy goal established by state legislators, 11 years ahead of the 2025 deadline. [Northland's NewsCenter]

¶   Armed with the knowledge that his New England counterparts saw their energy costs explode last winter, Quebec Premier Couillard made it clear at a conference of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers that the province has plenty of power for sale. [The Telegram]


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